South Carolina judge to issue marriage license to same-sex couple despite state ban
Cheryl Taylor and Jennifer Smith hold hands as they arrive for the Grand Pride Wedding, a mass gay wedding at Casa Loma in Toronto, Canada, on June 26, 2014 (AFP Photo/Geoff Robins)

A judge in Charleston, South Carolina, said on Wednesday he would issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple even though the state's ban on gay unions remains in place after actions by the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for them elsewhere.

Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon accepted an application for a marriage license from a lesbian couple on Wednesday. He said he would issue it after the mandatory 24-hour waiting period, unless a higher court intervened to block him.

"As a result of the actions of the U.S. Supreme Court on (Monday), the Charleston County Probate Court is required to accept and issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples," the judge said in a statement.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected appeals to uphold same-sex marriage bans in five states, ending bans in those states but leaving intact bans in 20 other states.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said on Tuesday he would continue to defend the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage until courts ruled on a pending challenge.

Asked about the Charleston judge's move on Wednesday, Wilson's spokesman Mark Powell said: "Because the Attorney General’s Office has ongoing federal litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment on this matter at this time."

Applications for marriage licenses by three same-sex couples in Greenville, South Carolina, were refused on Wednesday. A judge there said the licenses would not be issued until the legal questions surrounding same-sex marriage had been settled with certainty.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)