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Legal battle over Georgia gay marriage ban continues

Georgia banned same-sex marriage with a 2004 constitutional amendment, but the move is being challenged in the courts. Similar efforts have been initiated in all of the other states that currently do not allow same-sex marriages. The group bringing the action in Georgia is spearheaded by a same-sex couple who filed a suit in April 2014 petitioning a federal court to compel Georgia to recognize same-sex marriages.

However, the group received a setback in July 2014 when the Georgia attorney general filed a motion to dismiss the suit. The motion asserted that the issue of gay marriage in Georgia was a state matter, and it argued that a federal court lacked the jurisdiction necessary to grant the gay marriage advocate's petition.

Attorneys for the group filed their response to the motion to dismiss on Sept. 5. The 42-page document disputed the premise of the motion, and it provided examples of how a state ban on gay marriage could have repercussions that require attention on the federal level. One such example was the question of a marriage not being recognized in a state with a gay marriage ban that was legally entered into in one of the 19 states that allow such unions. The document also pointed out that the Supreme Court has ruled against states that have attempted to narrow the definition of marriage.

While the legal dispute over gay marriage in Georgia looks set to be protracted and bitter, same-sex couples still require legal protection. An attorney with experience in family law can offer advice to same-sex couples regarding matters such as adoption, child custody and visitation. The attorney could also help them to structure a cohabitation agreement addressing issues similar to those contained in a prenuptial agreement.

Source: Gwinnett Daily Post, "Plaintiffs’ attorneys file response in Georgia same-sex marriage suit", Tyler Estep, September 09, 2014

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