Georgia state Senate candidate Timothy Swiney says he plans to marry his partner of 16 years in Virginia following the a court ruling in that state overturning its same-sex marriage ban.

Swiney, a Democrat, is running for state Senate District 9. His Republican opponent in the November election is P.K. Martin, who defeated Mike Beaudreau in the July 21 runoff. Martin and Beudreau were able to garner more votes than longtime state Senator Don Balfour in the May 20 primary. Martin is a former Lawrenceville City Council member.

State Senate District 9 includes a portion of Gwinnett County include Lawrenceville and Dacula.

“I’ve been warned that this is a ‘gift’ to my Republican opponent and that seeking a marriage license at this time could damage my election chances come November,” Swiney said in a press release.

“The fact is, I’m not a career politician; I am a parent first. This decision is based on what is best for our children and our family’s security, not what will play well in a local political campaign. If I lose this election because of this decision, then I’m fine with that. It’s that simple,” he added. “Let’s be honest, those who will not vote for me over this issue probably wouldn’t have voted for me anyway.  And I’m OK with that.”

Swiney could not be immediately reached for comment.

Swiney’s partner is Eric Reid and they two live in Lawrenceville with their two adopted children.

“The fact is, anybody who would not vote for me because of ‘traditional family values’ is ignorant of who I am and what I stand for. When it comes to family values I’ve opened my home, my wallet, and my heart to children in need and have adopted two minority children, one who is severely handicapped,” he said in the press release. “I dare say that unless my critics can say the same, then it’s their values that should be questioned, not mine.”

A federal appeals court refused to stay the ban striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban on Aug. 13, leading to the possibility of same-sex couples being able to marry as soon as this week unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in.

Swiney was born and grew up in Virginia and wants to marry there so his family can attend the ceremony, he said in the press release. He has lived in Georgia for 25 years.

Swiney ran for the state House District 101 in 2012 and lost to Republican incumbent Valerie Clark.

Swiney had been a Republican but became a Democrat about four years ago, saying he no longer believed in the state’s Republican-led government.

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