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Georgia Supreme Court to hear marriage amendment case June 27


ATLANTA (BP) — Georgia’s Supreme Court announced May 30 it would hear the state’s marriage amendment case on an expedited basis, which might make a proposed special session of the state legislature unnecessary.

The high court on June 27 will consider whether the amendment – passed by 76 percent of voters in 2004 – is unconstitutional. A lower court judge May 16 struck down the amendment, ruling it violated the state constitution’s single-subject rule by dealing with two issues: “gay marriage” and same-sex civil unions. Supporters of the amendment say the issues are in fact one issue: homosexual relations.

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Republican and member of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, had said he was considering calling a special session if the state Supreme Court didn’t rule on the amendment by Aug. 7. The goal of the special session would be to place a marriage amendment on the November ballot.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has decided to expedite this case,” said Perdue spokeswoman Heather Hedrick. “We’re hopeful that the justices will rule to uphold the overwhelming decision of the people of Georgia that marriage in this state should consist of one man and one woman.”

Perdue still could presumably call a special session if the seven-member Georgia Supreme Court affirms the lower court’s ruling.

The lawsuit against the amendment was brought in part by Lambda Legal, a homosexual activist organization, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

Georgia is one of 19 states to adopt a constitutional marriage amendment. That number could surge past 25 by year’s end.