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South Carolina Age of Consent, Amendment 1 (2008)

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The South Carolina Age of Consent, Amendment 1 was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in South Carolina.

The measure amended the South Carolina Constitution to delete the provision that no unmarried woman shall legally consent to sexual intercourse who has not attained the age of fourteen.[1]

This measure was a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, one of three placed on the November 2008 ballot by the state legislature.

Election results

See also 2008 ballot measure election results

These results are based on the Elections Division of South Carolina.[2]

South Carolina Amendment 1 (2008)
Approveda Yes 900,164 52.39%

Specific Provisions

The amendment deleted the part of Section 33, Article III of the South Carolina Constitution which says an unmarried woman must be fourteen years old or older in order to consent to sexual intercourse. Deleting the section allowed the state legislature to set the age of consent. Previously, a state law sets the age of consent at sixteen, and this section contradicted that law.

  • A "yes" vote agrees with the idea of deleting the section from the Constitution and letting the age of consent be set at 16.
  • A "no" vote means the voter wants to leave the section of the Constitution in place which says the age of consent is 14.


Supporters included:

  • South Carolina State Senator Chip Campsen, R-Charleston. Addressing concerns that the measure would result in no age of consent, Campsen said, "That's not true. If this passes, there is not a nanosecond of time where (the age of consent) won’t be 16."[3]
  • Columbia Representative Todd Rutherford

Editorial support:

  • The Charleston Post and Courier[4]

Arguments in Support

Arguments made in support of the measure included:

  • The state constitution reflects a pre-industrial age when girls lived on farms, didn't go to school and married young.[4]
  • It will erase any doubts that girls must be 16 to legally consent to sex, and it will remove a gray area that might be used by "creative" lawyers to cloud this important issue.[4]
  • At present, the constitution contradicts state law that sets the age of consent to have sex at 16 for boys and girls.[4]

See also

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