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, had said he was considering calling a special session if the state Supreme Court didn’t rule on the amendment by Aug. 7. But the court could rule on the issue by then. 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,” Perdue spokeswoman Heather Hedrick told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “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.
CALIF. APPEALS COURT HEARS CASE — The California Court of Appeal will hear oral arguments in a “gay marriage” case July 10, moving the lawsuit one step closer to consideration by the state Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported. The Court of Appeal, which will hear several cases related to “gay marriage” that day, is one step below the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal will have 90 days to issue a ruling.
A lower court judge last year struck down the state’s marriage laws and ruled that “gay marriage” should be legalized. His decision was appealed.
‘GAY MARRIAGE’ CANDIDATES IN CALIF. — Two Democratic candidates for governor in California — state Comptroller Steve Westly and state Treasurer Phil Angelides — support “gay marriage” and have pledged to sign any such bill into law, according to the pro-family group Campaign for Children and Families.
In fact, Angelides’ campaign website features a story about his pro-“gay marriage” views, and the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter has written about Westly’s views, which are identical.
The election of either man would be bad news for conservative groups in California. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, last year vetoed a bill that would have legalized “gay marriage.” Schwarzenegger faces re-election this November.
In New York, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer also supports “gay marriage.”
CANADIAN VOTE THIS FALL — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said June 2 that Parliament will hold a vote on the issue of “gay marriage” this fall. Although “gay marriage” is legal nationwide, Harper and many members of his Conservative Party hope to overturn the law.
“It will be a free vote and the vote will be in the autumn,” he said, according to Reuters.
In a “free vote,” members of Parliament are able to vote their conscience, instead of being required to vote for the party’s position.
Newspaper tallies suggest that a vote to overturn the law would fall short. But pro-family groups hope to use the time in the coming months to persuade members of Parliament to vote against the “gay marriage” law, which was pushed through Parliament by the Liberal Party when it was in power.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage