Ga. Supreme Court Refuses to Stop Vote on Gay Marriage Ban

Georgia will be one of 11 states voting on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on Nov. 2.
( [email protected] ) Oct 26, 2004 06:15 PM EDT

The Georgia Supreme Court Tuesday ruled not to stop the Nov. 2 vote on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The court ruled 5-2 that it did not have authority to halt the scheduled ballot referendum. However, the majority said the proposed amendment “certainly can be challenged in the event it is enacted by virtue of approval by the voters.”

But until voters decide on the issue, “the judiciary does not have any jurisdiction to block further consideration of the proposed amendment,” the court declared.

Georgia voters will now join 10 other states in deciding on state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. The states are: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Utah. Similar amendments have been overwhelming approved in Mississippi and Louisiana earlier this year. A judge later voided the same-sex marriage ban in Louisiana on grounds that the amendment stated more than one purpose.

Amendment opponents in Georgia are also arguing along similar lines as groups that attempted to stop the ballot referendums in other states. They contend the amendment is flawed because it addresses more than one issue and does not present an accurate summary of the amendment to voters.

However, the court wrote that the only before the court is “whether the judiciary is authorized to interfere in the constitutional amendment process."

Lambda Legal filed the suit on behalf of a gay-rights organization.

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court also refused to stop a same-sex marriage ban from appearing before voters.