Senate passes bill that would protect same-sex, interracial unions

Senate passes bill that would protect same-sex, interracial unions
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 5:25 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia couples and supporters of same-sex marriage and interracial marriage are breathing a sigh of relief following the passage of a landmark vote in the U.S Senate. In a 62-37 vote, the Senate passed legislation Wednesday protecting all marriages from state or Supreme Court interference.

Democratic state lawmakers voiced concern about the rights of Georgia’s gay community shortly after the Supreme Court’s reversed Roe v. Wade. “It’s 2022! I cannot believe we’re back in this place,” said Georgia State Sen. Kim Jackson.

“We’ve been living out in proud relationships and the institution of marriage hasn’t fallen. Like it’s been OK. So, it’s very frustrating,” said Jackson.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should also revisit other rulings in his concurrence, including Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 decision that guaranteed same-sex marriage at the federal level. Georgia would revert to its 2004 ban on same-sex marriage If that decision were to be overturned.

“That constitutional amendment has never been changed. So, in 2015 the Supreme made a decision about marriage that superseded Georgia’s law. But on our books today, right now, Georgia law, Georgia constitution defines marriage as between a man and woman only,” said Jackson.

Patrick Davis and his husband got married seven years ago. However, they didn’t get married in Georgia. They instead planned a wedding hundreds of miles away in Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex marriage at the state level well before 2015.

“We were very worried that our marriage license could be invalidated at some point in the future. So, we did get married out of state,” said Patrick Davis.

The Senate passage Wednesday afternoon of the Respect for Marriage Act falls in line with how most Americans feel. The latest Gallup poll shows more than two-thirds of Americans support same-sex marriage, including 64 percent of Georgians.

“Every family has a member of the LGBTQ community inside of it. And we’re talking about protecting every family and making sure that the dignity of marriage is safe for every family,” said Davis.

The bi-partisan bill now returns to the House, which is likely to pass it. Then, it’s off to President Biden’s desk for his signature.