Atlantans react to SCOTUS same-sex marriage decisions - CBS46 News

Atlantans react to SCOTUS same-sex marriage decisions

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

On Wednesday at 10 a.m., gay rights supporters across the nation let out a collective sigh as the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

"DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty," the decision reads.

The court also declined to rule on Proposition 8 - a California law banning same sex marriages - and sent it back to the Ninth Circuit appellate court with instructions for dismissal, effectively making the law invalid.

The justices cited their lack of jurisdiction in their decision as well as lack of legal standing for the proponents of Proposition 8.

While there was no good news for same-sex couples wishing to get married in the state of Georgia, LGBT advocates are excited by the decision and for what it could mean in the future.

"I'm pretty excited. Is it everything we want? I don't think so, but it just shows we are moving in the right direction," said LGBT supporter Gary Fuller. "In the long term I think it lays the groundwork for other states to sort of follow suit."

While a couple cannot be legally married in Georgia, if a couple living in Georgia was married in a state that same-sex marriage is legal, that couple would be able to file their federal taxes jointly. However, their Georgia state taxes would still have to be filed individually.

Pastors at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta literally danced in the street upon hearing the news. They posted the video on their Facebook page. "We're dancing. In the street. Not well. But in the street."

The Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, issued the following statement:

"Every human being is made in God's image. And, God has made us different. Today the Supreme Court moves the country forward in respecting the dignity of every human being. Jesus told us we were to love God and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. With this decided my prayer is that we as a nation might now focus on care for our veterans, support for our aged and education and hope for our poor."

Even some of the state's politicians are applauding the ruling.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said, "The Supreme Court ruling to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act was a courageous decision and is an enormous victory for loving, married couples and their families. It is my hope that today's decision puts our nation on an inevitable path toward the day when all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, can enjoy equal protection under the law and marry the ones they love."

"Discrimination, in any form, is wrong," said Nikema Williams, interim chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party. "We applaud the court for recognizing that people in loving, caring relationships are afforded certain rights under the law – regardless of gender. I am grateful that we are one step closer to understanding that we are not a society with lesser classes of people."

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams tweeted, "RIP #DOMA. Good riddance to enshrined discrimination & denied equality. Sharp contrast to epic fail on VRA but progress marches on. #gapol"

There are some in the state, however, that are happy the Supreme Court's decision wasn't far reaching.

Attorney General Sam Olens issued the following statement:

"Today, the Supreme Court of the United States held 5-4 that Congress violated equal protection when it defined marriage for federal purposes differently from the way the State of New York defined it. I disagree with the Court's decision. But it is important to understand what the decision does and does not mean.

"Today's decision rests on the basic assumption – with which I strongly agree – that the power to define marriage is a power traditionally reserved to the States. The decision does not affect existing state definitions of marriage; in fact, it explicitly says that it is limited to marriages recognized by states as lawful. I agree with the Chief Justice that this limitation means what it says. The definition of marriage adopted by Georgia's voters is unaffected by today's decision."

Bob Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, and practices law in Atlanta. He is now running for Georgia's 11th Congressional District.

"I personally believe marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman and, if it were on the ballot in Georgia, I'd vote that way. However, I have come to believe that it's yet one more example of the federal government's delving into areas that throughout our history have been best left to the states. I trust the judgement of the people of Georgia more than that of Washington, DC.," said Barr.

LGBT rights supporters will gather at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue.

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