Georgia Same-Sex Mar…
Georgia Same-Sex Marriage Amendment Update: Haven’t had one of these in over a year. Judge Russell has made her ruling.

A judge has struck down Georgia’s ban on same-sex marriages, saying the measure that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004 violated the state constitution’s single-subject rule for ballot questions.

“Procedural safeguards such as the single-subject rule rarely enjoy public support,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell wrote. “But, ultimately it is those safeguards that preserve our liberties, because they ensure that the actions of government are constrained by the rule of law.”

Activists had long awaited Russell’s ruling in their court challenge, which was originally filed in November 2004, soon after the constitutional ban was approved in that year’s general election.

The “single-subject rule” being referred to is the law that states constitutional amendments must deal with a single subject. Critics of the amendment said that the wording constituted two subject; defining what marriage was, and banning same-sex marriage & civil unions. Judge Russell applied it another way.

In her ruling, Russell said before the state’s voters can be asked to decide whether same-sex marriages should be banned, they must first decide whether same-sex relationships should have any legal status before the law.

“People who believe marriages between men and women should have a unique and privileged place in our society may also believe that same-sex relationships should have some place — although not marriage,” she wrote. “The single-subject rule protects the right of those people to hold both views and reflect both judgments by their vote.”

I think that’s defining “single subject” too tightly. Additionally, the amendment passed by slightly more than a a 3-to-1 margin, meaning that the 24% that voted against it wouldn’t make a difference either way.

I understand the very good reasons for the single-subject rule, but I think this amendment passed muster. It was defining what marriage is, and saying that nothing else is that, not even civil unions.

Next stop, quite possibly the Georgia Supreme Court.

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