Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens is trying to ease some minds worried that his defense of the state’s same-sex marriage ban will foreshadow Alabama-level shenanigans should the Supreme Court legalize same-sex marriage in June.
“There’s a distinction between me defending the law, and the order from the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court rules on an issue, we’re going to follow the order…” Olens said in an appearance at the Atlanta Press Club according to the AJC.
“We’re going to encourage all those agencies that have a policy role that they immediately follow the law,” he said. “I cringe just as much when an attorney general seeks to defy the law as anyone else. When the U.S. Supreme Court rules, it’s not time for criticism. It’s not time for banter. It’s time for the lawyer to play lawyer, and to ensure that everyone follows that law.”
Following a federal judge’s ruling saying Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, the state’s Chief Justice Roy Moore sent a letter to probate judges saying that regardless of the ruling, they don’t have to issue marriage licenses. Court clerks in other states have refused to issue licenses.
Olens says that won’t happen here.
“If the court rules that Georgia’s constitutional amendment is legal, the press release from my office will be that the Supreme Court has spoken,” Olens said. “We’ll follow the law. If the Supreme Court at the end of June says that constitutional amendments like Georgia’s are unconstitutional, the press release from my office is going to be, the Supreme Court has spoken, and Georgia’s going to follow the law.”
However, don’t expect any apologies from Olens for upholding Georgia’s ban.
“I disagree 100 percent with those state attorney generals who decided they were part of the judicial branch and not the executive branch,” he said. “I think it’s frankly both inconsistent with the Constitution and the laws of the country when state attorneys general want to call balls and strikes.
“In the case of same-sex marriage, I think our office has tried – as best as we can – to show compassion, and to, frankly, limit our discussion to it being solely legal,” he continued.