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22 April 2014

The Culture Wars Return to Georgia with Federal Lawsuit to Overturn State's Gay Marriage Ban

Georgia politics is about to get a whole lot of interesting this week.

The Georgia Voice, a publication that caters to the state's LGBT community, reports Lambda Legal plans to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn Georgia's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage [Saunders, Patrick (22 April 2014). BREAKING: Lambda Legal to file class-action gay marriage lawsuit in Ga., meet plaintiffs in exclusive interview. Georgia Voice. Retrieved on 22 April 2014.].

The legal action will be filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Lambda Legal, a New York-based organization that focuses on civil rights for the LGBT community, is representing seven gay and lesbian individuals --Christopher Inniss, Shelton Stroman, Rayshawn Chandler, Avery Chandler, Michael Bishop, Johnny Shane Thomas, and Jennifer Sisson-- in a proposed class action suit consisting of: "A.) All Georgia residents who are unmarried same-sex couples; and B.) All Georgia residents who have lawfully married a same-sex
spouse in another jurisdiction."

In addition to overturning Georgia's gay marriage ban, the lawsuit also seeks to have O.C.G.A. § 19-3-1.1 and O.C.G.A. § 19-3-30 ruled unconstitutional.

O.C.G.A. § 19-3-1.1 states, "No common-law marriage shall be entered into in this state on or after January 1, 1997."

O.C.G.A. § 19-3-30 governs the issuance of marriage licenses in Georgia, and reads in part, "No marriage license shall be issued to persons of the same sex."

The entire federal lawsuit can be read below.

A recent SurveyUSA poll of 2,300 adults said 59% of all Georgians, including majorities across all age groups and races, believe the state constitutional amendment should remain in place.

Inniss et al. v. Aderhold