Until today, Georgia was one of the last 13 states that still denied same-sex couples the right to marry. No longer. In today's decision, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that every couple, regardless of sexual orientation, can exercise one of the most fundamental rights in our society - marriage - in any state of our Union.
This is an important victory for equality. Still, Georgians should recognize that the fight for full equality - for all persons, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other discriminatory classification - is far from over. As events in the news show on a daily basis, the Constitution's promise of "equal protection of the laws" is far from fulfilled, including in Georgia.
In his opinion, Justice Kennedy stated: "The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a character protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning."
Citizens of Georgia must take these words to heart. As our state moves forward, we hope that, rather than being one of the last states to fulfill equality for all, Georgia can take the lead in fulfilling these fundamental protections.
What are the basic steps involved in getting married in Georgia?
First, you must get a marriage license. Once you get a license, you are able to get married by having a ceremony performed by an authorized officiating person.
After the ceremony, the officiating person will fill out a form so that you can receive a marriage certificate. The marriage certificate is official proof of your marriage.
Where do I get a marriage license?
In Georgia, county probate courts grant marriage licenses to couples. Both parties must appear in person to get a marriage license. You will receive your license the same day you apply for it.
You may apply for a marriage license in any county in Georgia, as long as one or both of the parties to the marriage are residents of the state. Otherwise, you must apply for the marriage license in the county where the ceremony is to be held.
Can my partner and I get married the same day weget our marriage license?
Yes. There is no waiting period in Georgia. This means that the marriage license is immediately valid once it is issued.
After I get a marriage license, how long do we have to get married?
The marriage license remains valid for six months from the date it was issued. If you have not gotten married within six months, you will have to get a new marriage license before you can get married.
What identification will we need to provide the county clerk?
You will need your driver's license, passport or birth certificate. If you have been married before, you must present the court with your divorce decree.
How much does it cost?
Marriage license fees vary by county, and some counties require payment in cash only. Check the fees at your county probate court. https://www.gaprobate.org/find_court.asp
Can the clerk’s office refuse to give us a license because they object to marriages between same-sex couples, once same-sex marriage is legalized in Georgia?
No. Nothing allows a civil servant otherwise required to issue licenses for civil marriages to refuse to do so because of personal beliefs or religious objections. As government officials, they may not treat one group of applicants differently from another group solely because of personal religious objections. If you encounter a clerk’s office that refuses to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples, please contact the ACLU of Georgia at email@example.com.
Legislation that could have allowed businesses and individuals to use religion to discriminate failed Thursday night in Georgia following a national backlash to similar laws that passed in Indiana and Arkansas.
"Religious freedom is a fundamental American value, but the debate around Indiana has made it crystal-clear that it should not serve as a smokescreen for authorizing discrimination or letting individuals use their religious beliefs to harm others,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The conversation has forced politicians to reconsider policies that could allow discrimination and harm to countless people by denying them access to basic rights, such as employment, health care, or education."
The Obama administration came out with new guidelines on racial profiling for federal law enforcement officers Monday. Several civil rights organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and the NAACP say the policy is a step in the right direction. However, the organizations are also concerned the guidelines don’t go far enough.
The new profiling policy includes gender, religion and sexual orientation. Previously, only race and ethnicity were covered. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke about the new guidelines while in Atlanta last week.
The Law and Ethics of Intersex Issues & Screening of Intersexion a Documentary screening brought to you by OUTLAW & ALLIES at Atlanta John Marshall Law School and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Blackburn Center.
Georgia is the latest state to consider legislation that could sanction discrimination in the name of religious freedom.
There are two versions of the Georgia bill – a state House version, HB 1023, and a state Senate version, SB 377. Both would affirm the “right to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a sincerely held religious tenet or belief whether or not the exercise is compulsory or a central part or requirement of the person’s religious tenets or beliefs.” Where those beliefs conflict with local, state or federal law, the government would have to prove that the law is meant to pursue a “a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
DAY of OUTRAGE
Enough is Enough!
ts time to make Atlanta a better city for all of us.
We demand an end to the practices of profiling and harassment.
We demand solutions that do not criminalize our communities.
Tuesday, February 25th
Atlanta City Hall, Mitchell Street Entrance
2:00 Press Conference and Rally