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BlueWolf's Howl

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November 10, 2004

GA's Marriage Ban Challenged

Gay Marriage Lawsuit Filed (Associated Press)

A ray of hope in the Marriage Ban black cloud...

Don't break out the champagne glasses just yet, but at least we know the struggle has not been abandoned. More important than winning or losing is the information about this struggle that really needs to be made public...

I first heard about this on a message board. Being the type of person that doesn't just take something and forward it to 50,000 of my closest friends...I did a bit of research. [Plus, I needed a good link for the post ;) ]

The first story I came across in my search was an article dated 26 October which covered the PRE-ELECTION challenge to the proposed ballot measure. The Georgia Supreme Court refused to block the vote on the proposed constitutional amendment (Georgia's State Constitution) to ban gay marriage. The reason they allowed the vote was:

Reaffirming an 84-year-old decision, the court said judges lack authority to intervene in contests over proposed legislation or constitutional amendments until the legislation has been passed or the amendments approved by the voters.

So... prior to this appearing on the Georgia State ballot, it was determined that judges have no authority until the measure is passed. Isn't that too late for a faulty measure which shouldn't have even appeared before the voters? Once the amendment is approved...then you have the argument that it IS the law and the law must be strictly followed.... This happens to be one of the items in Bush's agenda for his second term -- as stated on his web site:

President Bush believes that judges should strictly and faithfully interpret the law, rather than legislate from the bench. He has appointed judges to the Federal courts who share his judicial philosophy, and his appointees have been rated the best-qualified of any recent Administration by the American Bar Association.

In his second term, President Bush will:

Appoint Judges Who Strictly Interpret the Law - President Bush will continue to appoint to the Federal courts well-qualified judges who share his commitment to strictly interpret the law.

This is a circular argument. You can't contest it until it's approved. Once it's approved you can't contest it because it's approved (the current law - which should be strictly followed). Okay...so that's the way they've been doing business in Georgia for the last 84 years. But, does that make any sense? Is that fair?

And it gets worse... The initial lawsuit (prior to the election) was filed because current Georgia law states that amendments to their constitution should be on a single subject. Also, it was argued that the summary of the ballot measure was misleading. In addition to covering same-sex marriage, the amendment also covered civil unions, same-sex marriages performed by other states, and declares that Georgia courts will have no jurisdiction to settle property division disputes arising from same-sex unions.

Did everyone in Georgia know they were voting against all that? No. The summary only covered gay marriage. EVEN IF all the people who voted for the ban intended to ban marriage and civil union and out-of-state marriages... what about the last part????? Think long and hard about the last part of that amendment... Georgia courts will have no jurisdiction to settle property division disputes arising from same-sex unions. Wow. That's absolutely outrageous! If you sleep with someone of the same sex, you no longer have any property rights. So if Mary and Sue have a ceremony in their backyard jumping over a broomstick and then their relationship goes south...when Mary pulls up with a U-Haul and cleans out the apartment while Sue is at work, Sue has no legal recourse to her property because the Georgia courts "have no juristiction to settle property division disputes arising from same-sex unions." Do you see this yet? Not only has Georgia banned gay marriage, but also taken away property rights for gays in one fell swoop.

And the Georgia Supreme Court allowed this on the ballot.

So...now that it passed, it is being appealed. Hmmm...see circular argument above before you even begin to hope for a snowball's chance in hell... But, at least the struggle continues.

Knowledge is power. We have to let people know what is happening. You won't see this on your evening news across the nation. Meanwhile, basic American rights are being withheld from just one group of people. Perhaps it's too late in Georgia. But, we have to be aware of the 'fine print' and make sure this doesn't happen elsewhere.

Perhaps if ALL the Georgia voters knew about the extent of the measure, it might have been seen for the extreme action that it entails and perhaps it might not have passed...? If nothing else, it shows that the anti-gay extremists are not so sure of their own position. If they truly thought that they were right and believed that a majority of the people were 'on their side,' then they would have been more above-board in their actions. They wouldn't have needed to 'hide' the riders on the amendment and would have boldly stated all the ramifications of the measure. But, no. Apparently HONESTY is not one of the "Moral Values" you've heard so much about...

Posted by BlueWolf on November 10, 2004 03:42 AM