More than 12 states have decided to recognize same-sex marriage as legal in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s action on the Defense of Marriage Act last year. Here in Georgia, same-sex marriage remains banned, but some think that this may change.
A same-sex marriage lawsuit is currently pending in the state, and the decision in that case could end the ban.
The lawsuit was filed by Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization, this spring. It was filed on the behalf of same-sex couples who wish to have Georgia’s constitutional amendment, which banned same-sex marriage in 2004, overturned. Their argument is that the ban violates the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens to due process and equal protection.
While the outcome of this case remains to be seen, judges in other states have been swayed by the same argument.
A total of 19 states currently allow same-sex marriage, and the patchwork of same-sex marriage laws across the country can cause difficult legal problems for same-sex couples.
As it stands, same-sex couples in Georgia may be wise to seek legal counsel to understand their rights and legal options to define their partnerships. Partnership agreements, health care proxies and wills are a few ways same-sex couples can set legal parameters to their relationships in absence of the right to marry. Unmarried same-sex couples who are ending their relationships might also find it beneficial to seek legal guidance when dividing property or making decisions about child custody and child support, since they cannot take advantage of the roadmap offered by divorce proceedings.
Source: WABE, “Analysts Weigh In On Future Of Georgia’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban,” Michell Eloy, June 2, 2014