Politicians can perform marriage under Georgia House legislation

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ATLANTA — You may now kiss ... my constituent?

The Georgia House voted Thursday to give some of the state’s top politicians the power to perform marriages in a surprise move that caught some lawmakers off guard.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson’s plan would allow the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and constitutional officers to preside at weddings.

“It wasn’t very long ago I noticed our governor was asked to perform a marriage ceremony and he wasn’t allowed to do that,” Richardson said, explaining his motivation.

The effort was tacked onto a separate proposal designed to urge couples to get tested for sickle cell disease before marrying. It passed by a 155-1 vote and now moves to the Senate.

State Rep. Bobby Franklin, the lone critic, knocked lawmakers for interfering in nuptials.

“Marriage isn’t a function of the government — that’s a family function, not a civil government function,” said Franklin, a Marietta Republican.

“We don’t need to be saying who can or cannot perform marriages. We just are compounding the error.”

Georgia law now allows judges to preside over marriages, but doesn’t extend that power to elected officials.

Richardson’s plan would do so by allowing any current or former constitutional officer to perform weddings.

That means Georgia’s secretary of state, school superintendent, attorney general, and commissioners of labor, agriculture and insurance.

It also would include the House Speaker Pro Tem, the Senate President Pro Tem, the clerk of the House and the Secretary of the Senate.

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CoastalDawg
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CoastalDawg 03/06/09 - 11:13 am
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When the legislature gets to

When the legislature gets to this low level of considering legislation, it is time to go home, don't accept the money for the rest of your term and consider never going back to Atlanta as a legislator. We have all these financial problems facing the state and the best they can do is decide that basically anyone and everyone can perform a marriage?! Who will ever really know if a marriage is legal if all constitutional politicians, both present and former, can perform a marriage? What a waste of time to even consider that! Time to call your representative if you even know who he is and demand that they just close the session and come on home. Tacking on that legislation to another bill is another spur under the saddle - let ONE piece of legislation at the time get consideration. WE THE PEOPLE have no say so in anything any more but it is time to take that power back, power that was never given to the government in the first place. How ridiculous can they get ?

jasall18
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jasall18 03/06/09 - 11:15 am
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This makes very little sense

This makes very little sense to me, I hope it gets vetoed somewhere along the line.

FedupwithAUG
0
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FedupwithAUG 03/06/09 - 11:26 am
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So much for the sanctity of

So much for the sanctity of marrage.

mutt
2
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mutt 03/06/09 - 11:45 am
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I hate to say this, but it

I hate to say this, but it looks like California is headed in the right direction and Georgia is heading further down the wrong road. In an effort to appease both sides on the issue of gay marriage, California is considering striking any reference to marriage from their constitution, which is the only correct move IMHO. Marriage is a religious institution, and as such the state should not be in the "marriage business". The civil union that is formed by that marriage on the other hand, is the business of the state since community property laws are involved. By taking this route California can recognize the civil union of any couple, gay or straight, and give them all equal treatment under the law, without redefining marriage. Meanwhile here in Georgia our legislators insert themselves deeper into an issue that they should be trying to get away from. While I don't support "gay marriage", I do believe that gay couples should be treated the same under the law as heterosexual couples, but without redefining the religious institution of marriage in the process. Leave marriage to the churches, and civil unions to the states. That is the only constitutionally correct solution, so far!

GGpap
491
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GGpap 03/06/09 - 12:30 pm
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We have all heard and read

We have all heard and read about legislative stupidity but this one has got to be THE real Gold Medal winner. I agree with CoastalDawg, it is long past time for the people to speak with meaningful (you can translate this) authority; and for your legislators to get the hell outta town! GGpap

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 03/06/09 - 12:54 pm
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Is our greasy Speaker of the

Is our greasy Speaker of the House planning to marry himself and his next wife to save a dollar? Does Richardson think he could save the honorarium which would be due to a third person who would officiate his next wedding? Should we admire this possible attempt at personal frugality by the otherwise undisciplined Richardson?

Lakefront1
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Lakefront1 03/06/09 - 01:11 pm
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The institution of marriage

The institution of marriage was created by God. One of its purposes is to be a picture of the relationship of Christ (the Groom) and the church (the Bride of Christ). In 1 Corinthians 7 the Bible defines righteous marriages and unrighteous ones. The Bible gives a rich meaning for the institution. Marriage was not created by the government and government does not give marriage the depth God intended. Therefore, government has no right to stick its (unrighteous) nose in the middle of marital unions. Marriages outside of the watchcare of God are unions of convenience. Marriages between two people who believe in God are holy. The Georgia Legislature is overstepping its authority.

jajo1012
0
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jajo1012 03/06/09 - 03:28 pm
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Lakefront, marriage might

Lakefront, marriage might have been of biblical origins, but it's an institution of government now. So get off your high horse, but down your New Testament, and get with the 21st century. Thanks! :)

My_2nd
0
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My_2nd 03/06/09 - 04:05 pm
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so now your marriage can be

so now your marriage can be dissolved due to budget cuts.

Lakefront1
0
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Lakefront1 03/06/09 - 04:18 pm
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regiznawz, my horse is only

regiznawz, my horse is only as high as the Word of God. 21st Century men will face the same judgment as 1st Century man. Just because man changes his rules that does not mean The rules have been changed. God bless you.

gnx
7
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gnx 03/06/09 - 05:19 pm
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I guess according to

I guess according to Lakefront I have been living in sin all these years because I was married by a Justice of the Peace and not a minister. How on earth am I ever going to tell my parents that it's been a total lie and that my husband is really just my baby daddy?

Lakefront1
0
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Lakefront1 03/07/09 - 06:39 am
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gnx, While you are making fun

gnx, While you are making fun of me read the Bible.

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