GA High Court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

July 7, 2006 ( - The Georgia Supreme Court has upheld a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in the state.

According to the court ruling, the amendment, presented to voters in 2004, stated, “The state shall recognize as marriage only the union between a man and a woman.” The second subparagraph of the amendment stated, “No union of persons of the same sex shall be recognized by this state as entitled to the benefits of marriage.”

Following the passing of the amendment, a lawsuit was filed claiming the amendment was unconstitutional because it dealt with two different subjects – the definition of marriage and the state’s treatment of same-sex couples. Georgia law requires that voters be allowed to vote on different subjects separately, according to the court document.

A trial court agreed with the argument that the amendment was unconstitutional, but the state’s Supreme Court disagreed.

The high court determined that the objective of the amendment was the non-recognition of same-sex unions as marriage. Therefore, the court said, “[T]he prohibition against recognizing same-sex unions as entitled to the benefits of marriage is not “dissimilar and discordant” to the objective of reserving the status of marriage and its attendant benefits exclusively to unions of man and woman.”

The opinion in Perdue v. O’Kelley et al. is here .

Georgia is one of the latest states to uphold a ruling against same-sex couples. The New York Court of Appeals ruled last week that state law does not permit gay marriage. One of the judges wrote in an opionion that any changes in the law that defied marriage as a union between a man and a woman would have to come from the the state legislature (See  NY High Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage ).