Marriage in Georgia & Elsewhere
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, May 15, 2015 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Because natural marriage was under attack nineteen years ago, Georgia Congressman Bob Barr (R) authored the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and introduced it in the U.S. House of Representatives; Oklahoma Senator Don Nickles (R) introduced it in the Senate; Congress passed it with veto-proof margins and Democrat President Bill Clinton signed it. Therefore, since September 21, 1996 federal law has defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman and spouse as a “person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” But on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA.
Before 1996, Georgia law simply defined marriage as “an actual contract,” without explaining who could enter the contract. So, the Georgia General Assembly passed a bill in 1996 to clarify who could marry whom. As Governor Zell Miller signed it into law, he said, “H.B. 1580 defines marriage in Georgia as the union between a man and a woman. Further, the bill forbids the issuance of a marriage license to persons of the same sex or for the state of Georgia to recognize marriage licenses from other states which do not meet Georgia’s definition of marriage.”
Eight years later in 2004, the Georgia General Assembly passed S.R. 595 to amend the State Constitution with the language of the law and 72.6 percent of voters passed it on the 2004 General Election ballot. But, here we are eleven years later, facing nation-wide campaigns to redefine marriage, although the majority of voters always support natural marriage.
On April 22, 2014 Lambda Legal challenged Georgia’s definition of marriage on behalf of three same-sex couples and a woman whose “wife” had died. Also in April of 2014, young conservatives for same-sex marriage launched a national million-dollar campaign to “modernize” the marriage plank in the Republican Party Platform.
Since so many lawsuits have challenged the definition of marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on it in June. But I’m disturbed. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated in a same-sex marriage in the Supreme Court Building in October 2013, and two sitting justices have officiated at same sex marriages – Justice Ginsburg in August 2013 and Justice Kagan in September 2014.
Please pray that a majority of justices on the Supreme Court will NOT vote to redefine, replace, expand, or neuter the definition of marriage, but will affirm marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Period! For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.