The proposed Georgia…
The proposed Georgia constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is under fire before it gets on the ballot.

A lawsuit to remove a gay marriage amendment from the November ballot will go before a Fulton County judge Friday.

Authors of the amendment to ban gay marriage in Georgia thought the State Legislature had settled the issue earlier this year by leaving it to be decided by voters. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is trying to halt what they call a loaded question that actually presents two questions, instead of one.

Beth Littrell, of the ACLU, said, “They didn’t mention civil union because they know that voters would not favor putting that into the [Georgia] Constitution.”

The ACLU is calling for the amendment to ban gay marriage to be removed from the November 2 ballot. Passed overwhelmingly by Georgia lawmakers during the previous legislative session, the amendment would affect only gay marriages.

In fact, though, what voters will see on the November ballot only asks them if Georgia should recognize marriage as the union of a man and a woman. But, there’s a second section omitted from the ballot that says no same-sex union shall be entitled to the benefits of marriage.

The ACLU claims that would also outlaw civil unions and, along with them, any chance of legally acquiring domestic benefits. The amendment’s authors deny that, saying the ACLU lawsuit simply reinforces the need to have what’s already Georgia law protected from being overturned by a state court.

Opponents of the ban point out that gay marriage is already against the law in Georgia, but as the last paragraph notes, they’ve taken the fight to the courts, so that’s where they’re being met. This is just further proof of that.

The “civil union” point that the ACLU is quibbling over is a bit of a smoke screen. From Ms. Littrell’s description, one might think that the proposed amendment would also outlaw civil unions, but it doesn’t. It just says that “civil unions” aren’t “marriage” and shouldn’t be treated as such by the state. So civil unions are still in play, but they’ll just be civil unions, not marriage under a different name. Thus it’s not one question being put to the Georgia voters. It’s just one question clarified by two sentences.

Further, it doesn’t prohibit employers from offering the same benefits to married couples and those joined by civil union. Private citizens/groups are free to treat them as they see fit

So this lawsuit is merely a desperate attempt at finding a “friendly” judge to get the amendment off the ballot. Kinda’ the way the whole same-sex marriage thing has been playing out around the country. That’s why we need a constitutional amendment. Hats off to the ACLU for proving the point.

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