AG defends GA's same-sex marriage ban - CBS46 News

AG defends GA's same-sex marriage ban; citing tradition and children

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Attorney General Sam Olens argued in a brief filed Monday, that the lawsuit challenging Georgia's same-sex marriage ban should be dismissed in order to preserve tradition and protect children. 

Olens, who is defending the state's director of vital records Deborah Aderhold, argued in the brief that the state has a right to determine marriage laws and has a legitimate interest in encouraging the raising of children by a married mother and father. 

A lawsuit, filed by three same-sex couples and a widow, seeks to overturn the state's constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The complaint claimed the ban is discriminatory and violates their constitutional rights. Two of the couples have children and argued their children aren't afforded the same protections as children of opposite sex couples.

Tanya Washington, an associate professor at Georgia State University College of Law, pointed out many of the state's arguments mirror those other states have presented and lost.

Washington pointed out that unlike some defenses presented by other states, Olens didn't rely on any scientific research in his brief to prove how children of same-sex couples are allegedly harmed. Washington said that's likely because much of that research has been found unreliable by other federal courts.

"The substance of [the state's] arguments, the inherent analysis is flawed. These bans don't help children. They actually harm children," said Washington, who has studied same-sex marriage bans for more than 10 years.

"The practical effect of these bans is to frustrate relationships children have with both parents and that can't be helpful to children. So while well-written, I don't think [the state's brief] advances any arguments that win the day"

Since the Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in 2013,  lower courts have ruled 13 states' marriage bans unconstitutional.

Washington predicts Georgia's marriage ban will be found unconstitutional as well. 

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