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Group Challenges Georgia's Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

A gay-rights group filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of 7 Georgians.

A lawsuit filed April 22, 2014, challenges the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. File photo
A lawsuit filed April 22, 2014, challenges the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. File photo

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.

jMichael April 28, 2014 at 01:12 PM
Geeze, Michael Hipp what did I post that so offended you?
Michael Hipp April 28, 2014 at 01:15 PM
No you jM - that lurch, Chris P is who I was talking to. Your handle just happened to be one of the people the lurch was disparaging so it was counted in the quote.
James Tola April 28, 2014 at 01:26 PM
Michael, the language alone you choose to engage with others is demeaning , childish and unfortunate. Taking the scriptures out of historical context is lazy, reckless and dangerous. How many women are stoned today for divorcing and rmarrying.? To remarry is as form of adultery per Jesus' teaching in Matthew. Have we thrown away Jesus' teachings on this issue or have we evolved as a society and church?
Michael Hipp April 28, 2014 at 02:34 PM
Wrong James, to a point. The language I choose to engage others with is demeaning only if that person is religious and the topic of conversation is secular/civic and one in which religion and the religious have chosen to stick their nose in. If this were a discussion on the respective merits of the pansies planted at Thrasher Park, I would never be uncivil or discourteous. ________________________________________________ Before I move on, I have no idea what you're talking about with taking scriptures out of historical context. I don't believe in any gods and I don't recognize the authority, presumed accuracy or historicity of any religious book or books.___________________________________________________________________________________________ Now why do I not speak nicely to the religious on civic minded issues. If religion or the religious had wanted me to be civil to them then they should have thought about that during the twenty-nine years in which religion and the religious physically beat me for who I am. They should have though about that while they were psychologically torturing me as a young adult. Religion and the religious should have thought about what they were doing when they tried to deny me my constitutional rights as an American citizen. Religion and the religious should have thought about what it might make me act like when they have spent all of my entire life demeaning me for who I am and for what I believe. Turn about is fair play as far as I'm concerned. Religion doesn't deserve my homage or good manners, ever and the religious don't deserve the good side of me when we're talking about my marriage rights that they think they have control over. Now, you might say "these particular people...blah blah blah." Until and unless I'm shown otherwise with physical proof, I will assume that 100% of religious people in this country voted for the 2004 -2012 state constitutional amendments - in the 37 states that had them - to deny me my constitutional right to marriage as an American. Is that fair? No, but the way I've been beaten and tortured all my life isn't fair either so, again, turn about is fair play.
Chris P April 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Michael Hipp I suggest you get professional help to work out your anger issues. James Tola's assessment is spot on.

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