Horry County same sex couple applies for marriage license

One Myrtle Beach couple spent their Valentine's Day afternoon in tears. The same sex couple went to apply for a marriage license in protest of state law that outlaws same sex marriage.

Lora Talbot is a lesbian. Her partner Benji Herndon, a transgender. The two have been in a relationship for three years and have a child together.

Tuesday afternoon, the couple waited in the probate office where marriage licenses are issued to see if they could apply for one.

"Today's the day of love. Everybody should be celebrating today. Everybody's got something to celebrate. We want to have our own celebration. I want to go home and be able to tell our kids, "hey, we're married." Ya know?," Talbot said.

After waiting for about 15 minutes, watching others receive licenses, the two were taken with a few of their supporters and the media into a small conference room to meet with Horry County Probate Judge Deidre Evans.

Evans met with the couple and said they could apply, but would be turned down because they were members of the same sex.

"It hurts," Hendron says.

Talbot and Herndon say they know same sex marriage is not recognized by the state of South Carolina, and that Tuesday's move was symbolic.

They added they do have hope though. Monday, New Jersey state senators passed a bill approving same sex marriage, and California has repealed proposition 8 which outlawed gay marriage.

South Carolina voters approved an Amendment in 2006 that changed the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the Palmetto State. The referendum passed by 78%

In January 2009, State Sen. Robert Ford (D-Charleston) introduced the Civil Union Equality Act. The bill was to establish civil unions explicitly for same-sex couples only. The measure would provide all the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples if it becomes the law. The act would take effect if the governor signed it.

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee the same day it was introduced, on January 13, 2009. The bill was then moved to the subcommittee on January 20, 2010 where it has remained ever since.

When Judge Evans told the couple they would be turned down, she gave them a letter explaining why. Lora says she plans to put that letter in a frame - until it can be replaced by a marriage license.

In August, a study was released from the Williams Institute that showed Myrtle Beach had the highest density of gay couples in South Carolina with 11.67 gay couples per 1,000 households.

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