WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request to block gay marriage from proceeding in South Carolina, clearing the way for it to become the 35th US state where same-sex marriage is legal.
The order was another victory for advocates for gay marriage after a federal judge in Montana on Wednesday struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage.
South Carolina's attorney-general had asked the high court to temporarily block a lower court's ruling that overturned the state's gay marriage ban passed by voters in 2006.
After the Supreme Court's order, South Carolina Attorney-General Alan Wilson, a Republican, said he hoped the high court, which has so far declined to take up cases that would lead to a definitive ruling on gay marriage, would ultimately uphold the state's ban.
Two of the US Supreme Court's conservative members, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, would have blocked the lower court's ruling, the order said.
With the court's action, gay marriage was set to become legal in South Carolina at noon EST, although some licences were issued as early as Wednesday.