South Carolina Could Owe Gay Groups $150,000 -- or Maybe Even More

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson listens during proceedings in the South Carolina Supreme Court Tuesday, June 24,
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson listens during proceedings in the South Carolina Supreme Court Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. Wilson is appealing a judge's ruling that a legislative panel must first sign off before he pursues charges against Speaker Bobby Harrell. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)

South Carolina's anti-gay Attorney General may have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to gay rights groups. New research shows why marriage equality has been so successful so fast. And Hillary Clinton gets thanks for supporting the freedom to marry from an unlikely source.

Marriage is here to stay in South Carolina, but Attorney General Alan Wilson seems to be having a hard time accepting it. Even though South Carolina couples have been getting married since last month, Wilson has continued his losing battle to stop the weddings. But the longer he drags out his appeal, the more money he may wind up having to give to a coalition of gay rights groups.

That's because the coalition has filed a petition seeking to recoup the money that they've had to spend to keep marriage legal. If the court grants their request, Wilson will have to give over $150,000 to organizations fighting for equality. Wilson really has no chance of stopping marriage at this point. He's appealing to the Fourth Circuit, which has repeatedly allowed marriages to go forward. So all he's doing now is running up a huge tab.

And the same thing's happening Arkansas. Outgoing Governor Mike Beebe and incoming Governor Asa Hutchinson both say they oppose marriage equality. Last week Beebe went even further, telling supporters that he might be willing to consider limited civil unions. That might've been an okay position twenty years ago. But civil unions are a compromise, and at this point we're so close to winning we don't have to compromise anymore.

In fact, there's a new study this week that shows why we're so close to winning. And no surprise, it's what Harvey Milk said back in the '70s: You have to come out. The new study in the journal Science shows that when door-to-door canvassers come out, and talk about wanting to get married, voters' minds change -- and stay changed. If we don't come out, their minds change back after less than a week. So that's why coming out as queer is so important, and why those anti-gay politicians are going to lose.

And finally this week, congratulations to Hillary Clinton, who came out in favor of marriage equality last year and has now won the "Straight Ally of the Year" award, as decided by users of Grindr.