LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in South Carolina:
There are currently no explicit, comprehensive statewide non-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people in South Carolina.
The Latest on LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in South Carolina:
During the 2016 legislative session lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 1203, an attempt to criminalize transgender people for being who they are by restricting their access to restrooms. That bill, which was opposed by Republican South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, did not advance out of committee during the 2016 legislative session.
In April 2016 the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit – which includes South Carolina, as well as West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina, ruled in favor of a transgender high school student who had been prohibited from using the boy’s bathroom despite his male gender identity. The decision lays the groundwork for an end to legislation like Senate Bill 1203.
History of LGBTQ Non-Discrimination in South Carolina:
- 1998: The group Allies For Full Existence is founded, comprised of LGBTQ people and allies working to eliminate prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- 2002: The South Carolina Equality Coalition is founded as “a statewide non-partisan coalition of local and state social, religious, and GLBT organizations and allies with a mission to secure civil and human rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender South Carolinians.”
- 2009: The city of Charleston becomes the first in the state to pass nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and public accommodations.
- 2011: Richland County passes comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- 2011: The city of Columbia adds gender identity to the list of protected classes in existing nondiscrimination law, ensuring protections for transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
- 2014: Myrtle Beach adds sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in existing nondiscrimination law, offering protections in housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, and education.
- April 6, 2016: Lawmakers introduce Senate Bill 1203, a bill that would discriminate against transgender students and restrict their ability to use the restroom. Later in the month, the bill is defeated, following work from Equality SC.
Municipalities with Non-Discrimination Protections:
The following municipalities protect people from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity:
- Myrtle Beach
- Richland County
- Columbia (city employees only)
- Latta (city employees only)
- Folly Beach (sexual orientation, but not gender identity)
Last Updated April 11, 2018