Georgia Equality is on the offensive and is petitioning state Attorney General Sam Olens not to defend the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
“Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has the opportunity to do the right thing and avoid wasting taxpayer money defending the indefensible. Let Sam Olens know that Georgians of all political stripes sup- port marriage equality and don’t want to see Georgia’s leaders spend our money to be on the wrong side of history yet again,” states an email action alert from the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization.
Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of three gay couples and a lesbian widow on April 22 challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Defendants in the lawsuit, including the State Registrar and Director of Vital Records and Fulton and Gwinnett County judges, have until July 21 to respond to the lawsuit.
Olens backing down seems unlikely, however.
Applaud SCOTUS decision upholding religious freedom, and I am proud to have joined an amicus brief supporting Hobby Lobby before the Court.
— Sam Olens (@samolens) June 30, 2014
On Monday morning at 9 a.m., Georgia Equality and same-sex couples will deliver the petition with thousands of signatures to Olens’ office.
In February, Olens said it is “lawless” not to defend the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in response to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s public statement that state attorney generals are not required to defend same-sex marriage bans if they believe they are unconstitutional. When the lawsuit was announced, Olens’ spokesperson released a statement saying, “The Attorney General will fulfill his constitutional obligation to defend Georgia law.”
Many federal judges have ruled state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional in the year following the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Utah officials defending the ban have said they will appeal their case directly to the Supreme Court. U.S. Attorney General Holder told ABC News that if the Supreme Court agrees to hear any marriage equality cases, the Justice Department will file a brief that “will be in support of same-sex marriage.”
Attorney generals in Kentucky, Nevada, Virginia, California and Pennsylvania said they would not defend bans on same-sex marriage in their states.