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Georgia couples hope to see end to same-sex marriage ban

Same-sex couples that have not been allowed to legally marry in Georgia have a reason to be cautiously optimistic for change. A ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia allowed a decision to end the state's same-sex marriage ban to proceed. While the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked that ruling and granted a stay, supporters of same-sex couples' right to marry in Georgia hope that their state will be the next to repeal its same-sex marriage ban.

In 2004, an amendment to Georgia's state constitution made it illegal for same-sex couples to marry. Voters approved the amendment through a referendum. In recent years, however, courts in many other states have found that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional and invalidated them.

A lawsuit was filed in Georgia this year by three same-sex couples and one widow who are hoping Georgia's same-sex marriage ban will be invalidated. The lawsuit recently added one more same-sex couple to its list of plaintiffs. A senior attorney for Lambda Legal has commented that a win in the Georgia case would be a game-changer.

Because marriage laws do not yet protect gay and lesbian couples in Georgia, it may be especially important for same-sex couples to seek legal representation when dealing with family law issues. An attorney might be able to assist a same-sex couple that is in need of legal help while dealing with adoption, child custody issues or estate planning. By using a combination of family law and contract law, an attorney may be able to create cohabitation or domestic partnership agreements that offer same-sex couples legal protection of their rights.

Source: WABE, "Plaintiffs in Georgia Same Sex Marriage Ban Lawsuit Keep Close Watch on Recent Rulings", Rose Scott, August 17, 2014

Source: WABE, "Plaintiffs in Georgia Same Sex Marriage Ban Lawsuit Keep Close Watch on Recent Rulings", Rose Scott, August 17, 2014

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