Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Georgia Anti-gay Marriage Amendment Overturned

Long story short:

In 2005 Georgia citizens voted to amend their constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman and ALSO to deny any of the "benefits of marriage" to same-sex couples. (Only the first part of the amendment showed up on the ballot.)

A superior court judge Constance Russell ruled that the amendment violated the "single subject rule" that limits amendments to addressing one subject. In the judge's opinion, defining marriage is one thing, denying any legal protections for another group of people is another.

Get ready to hear the right's whiny cries about "activist judges" which for some reason only appear when a court has made a ruling they disagree with.

From the Washington Blade via

“Procedural safeguards such as the single subject rule rarely enjoy popular support. But, ultimately, it is those safeguards that preserve our liberties, because they ensure that the actions of government are constrained by the rule of law,” Russell wrote.

“The issues for the people with respect (to) same sex relationships are what status, if any, those relationships will have in the eyes of the law. And if they are afforded legal recognition, how they shall be treated under other laws. Those questions are distinctly different from whether same sex marriages should be allowed or recognized in this state. If the larger questions about same sex relationships are to be considered and answered, they must be presented forthrightly — not as an incidental side note to an entirely different matter,” Russell adds.

The first sentence of Amendment 1 asked Georgia voters if marriage should be defined as the union between man and woman in the state constitution. The second clause of Amendment 1, which is known as Section B and did not appear on the Nov. 2 ballot, said “no union” between persons of the same sex shall be entitled to “the benefits of marriage.”

What does the ruling mean? It allows the good people of Georgia, even if they believe only a man and a woman should be married, to say at a later time that these other kinds of families should not be discriminated against in terms of legal protections.

It is possible that some Georgians feel individuals should be able to leave their pensions to the partner they've committed their life to. Or they may believe Georgia should allow someone to receive automatic rights to visit their partner in the hospital or their partner's inheritence without distant relatives denying their ability to do so.

I believe some people are nice that way.


Blogger Mike Mather said...

I know this will be a strange association Troy...but it certainly seems like just another reminder of the failure of community. We treat each other as "kinds of persons" rather than "unique beloved children of God." One of the things you often hear handwringing about all the time is the weakening of marriage. When Jon Stewart was in town last year one of the things he said was "Well...we know that most marriages end in gayness." It is a failure of community, of sight, to not be able to see one another for who we are... Because Mom is from there I happen to know a thing or two about Georgia -- I do believe taht they have an important issue or two to take care of there if people weren't able to be treated as fearful children who follow the fad solution to all of what ails our country and our world. Someone has to be to blame right? And it can't be me!

7:04 PM  

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