Ga. gay-rights groups see hope in California ruling, politicians oppose it

Thursday, Aug 5, 2010 5:25 PM
Last updated 5:28 PM
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ATLANTA -- Gay-rights groups in Georgia see reasons for hope in the ruling of a federal judge who struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, but Georgia politicians vow to fight it here.
All three major-party candidates for governor said today they favor keeping the gay-marriage ban in Georgia’s constitution. Voters approved it overwhelmingly in 2004.
The Georgia Supreme Court upheld a 2006 challenge to how the amendment was structured on the ballot, but it has never ruled on the state constitutionality of barring same-sex couples from marrying.
The federal court ruling Wednesday did by concluding that it heard no evidence that the government had a rational interest in prohibiting homosexual marriage, which it called a violation of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it discriminates against gays and lesbians.
“Indeed, the evidence shows (the ban) does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples,” wrote U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker.
Walker’s decision is almost certain to be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the U.S. Supreme Court. Until the nation’s high court hands down a decision, Walker’s opinion has no bearing on Georgia’s ban.
“I think it’s premature to say this would make a change in Georgia,” said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “… It may begin the process that may lead to challenging the ban in Georgia.”
The gay-rights group Georgia Equality estimates as many as 25,000 couples in the state could be waiting for a chance to marry should the ban end here. The group’s executive director, Jeff Graham, felt positive.
“It does give us hope here that this judge has acknowledged that our relationships, our families, are not a threat to others,” he said.
But neither Roy Barnes, the Democratic nominee for governor, nor Karen Handel and Nathan Deal, the candidates in Tuesday’s runoff for the Republican nomination, want to lift Georgia’s ban. All issued statements opposed to Walker’s ruling.
“I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Barnes said. “I’m not in favor of changing state law.”
Handel agreed, adding that it is similar to laws that prohibit marriage between siblings, multiple marriages and those of people under the age of consent.
“Freedom to marry is not a right,” she said. “… We have a right as a society to determine who can marry, and we have decided that marriage should be between a man and a woman."
Deal’s campaign manager Brian Robinson argued over which of the candidates best would defend Georgia’s ban.
“He’s also reminding them that his principles won't wave like a field of grain based on which way the wind is blowing that day,” Robinson said.

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Riverrunner30909 08/05/10 - 11:05 pm
The marriage of two men or

The marriage of two men or two women is an abomination in the bible and in normal society. That is why the old word for the persons was queer because it means abnormal.

corgimom 08/06/10 - 07:05 am
I marvel at all the people

I marvel at all the people that think that gay people can't have children.

I know plenty of gay people that have children. What usually happens is that they try to be straight (because of the prejudice that exists against homosexuals), they have kids, it doesn't work out (that's a given, isn't it) and then they become openly gay.

Troy Infantoy
Troy Infantoy 08/06/10 - 07:08 am
No, corgimom, I do not

No, corgimom, I do not believe "it's a given".

jiclemens 08/06/10 - 09:15 am
Well Troy, it is a given. But

Well Troy, it is a given. But fortunately that isn't the only way gay couples have children, but the most common way is to adopt one or more of the millions of unwanted and unloved children brought into the world by ignorant and irresponsible heterosexuals who could care less what the Bible says about sex.

Marlene 08/06/10 - 01:05 pm
Soldout -- The *only* ones

Soldout -- The *only* ones demanding special rights are the American Taliban, who've been trying like mad to impose their interpretation of the bible into secular law.

There's *nothing* special in demanding to be treated equally, is there?

As to the assertion that this ruling will automatically lead to plural marriage is spurious and fearmongering.

Advocates for plural marriage have just as much right to petition the courts to have their relationships legally recognized, but there are more than enough examples of the abuses such relationships engender.

In fact, why hasn't the Utah government gone ahead and raided these polygamous cults in their state? Is it because the LDS royalty ordered the state not to unless they become an embarassment like the one in Texas did? This is hypocrisy in its purest form, IMNSHO. AFAIC, this *is* an example of a group receiving special rights!

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