ATLANTA — Seven homosexuals in Georgia have filed suit in an attempt to overturn the state’s marriage amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004.
“This state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman. Marriages between persons of the same sex are prohibited in this state,” the amendment reads. “No union between persons of the same sex shall be recognized by this state as entitled to the benefits of marriage.”
It was passed with 76 percent approval from voters, and survived a 2006 challenge in the courts.
But now, the homosexual advocacy group Lambda Legal has filed a second challenge that seeks class action status and a declaration that the amendment violates the federal Constitution’s equal protection clause.
“Georgia joins a growing chorus of Southern voices clamoring for marriage equality. The freedom to marry is indeed coming south,” Senior Attorney Beth Littrell wrote in a press release announcing the suit. “We do not want a country divided by unfairness and discrimination. Same-sex couples are in loving, committed relationships in every region of our nation and should be treated the same way, whether they live in the Empire State or the Peach State.
The challenge includes two police officers, a lawyer and a realtor, as well as a woman whose partner died last year and was denied recognition on her death certificate.
State Attorney General Sam Olens has indicated that he will defend the statute no matter what it takes. He stated a February Faith and Freedom Coalition event that it would be “lawless” to fail to protect the state marriage amendment should it be challenged in court.
“That’s not only callous, it’s lawless,” Olens said. “I don’t have any fiat over what’s the law and what’s not the law in this state. And whether I like a bill they pass across the street or not, unless there is a solid legal basis that it is inherently and expressly unconstitutional, I have a duty to enforce it and defend it.”
As previously reported, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key part of the Defense of Marriage (DOMA) Act last year, Justice Antonin Scalia warned that it is just a matter of time before all states will be forced to accommodate homosexual “marriage.”
“In sum, that court which finds it so horrific that Congress irrationally and hatefully robbed same-sex couples of the ‘personhood and dignity’ which state legislatures conferred upon them, will of a certitude be similarly appalled by state legislatures’ irrational and hateful failure to acknowledge that ‘personhood and dignity’ in the first place,” he stated. “As far as this court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe [to drop].”
Photo: J. Glover