A federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of seven
Georgians challenging the state’s constitution ban on same-sex marriage.
The plaintiffs include three couples and a widow from metro Atlanta, the AJC reported.
Lambda Legal, a gay rights firm, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs, seeking to lift the ban that was ratified overwhelmingly by Georgia voters in 2004.
The 2004 vote was challenged in court, but was ruled valid in 2006 by Georgia Supreme Court.
A senior attorney for Lambda Legal told the AJC it decided to pursue the lawsuit after several judges in other states struck down similar bans in recent months.
“There is an unbroken string of successes in the federal courts,” Beth Littrell told the AJC. “It’s discrimination, pure and simple, and it’s wrong.”
Two other law firms — Bryan Cave LLP of Washington and White & Case of Miami — have joined the case. The suit seeks class-action status.
The group is suing the state registrar, the clerk of the Gwinnett County Probate Court and a Fulton County Probate Court judge.
The plaintiffs include Shelton Stroman and Chris Inniss, a Snellville couple that has been together for 13 years, owns a local business and has a 9-year-old son adopted when he was an infant.
“We live just like any other family. We believe that we should have equal rights,” Inniss told WSB Radio.
The AJC said other plaintiffs include two Atlanta Police officers, Rayshawn Chandler and Avery Chandler of Jonesboro; an Atlanta couple, Michael Bishop and Shane Thomas, and Jennifer Sisson of Decatur, whose longtime partner, Pamela Drenner, died in 2013.
Same-sex marriage is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down key parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which forbade the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.