July 02, 2008

Chiefs performing marriages

South Carolina chiefs can now legally marry couplesSouth Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has signed a bill allowing American Indian chiefs and spiritual leaders in the state to perform marriages. One couple already has married under the new state law.

House Bill H3798 became effective immediately upon his signing June 16.

Soon after, Chief Gene Norris of the Lower Eastern Cherokee Nation of South Carolina married former Waccamaw Chief Harold D. Hatcher, chair of the state's Indian Affairs Commission, and Susan Hayes. Waccamaw tribal headquarters are in Aynor.

"What made this such a historical event was for the first time in many years, a chief or spiritual person of a recognized Indian entity in the state of South Carolina could perform a wedding ceremony and sign a marriage license," Norris said.

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