Remaining defendants issue responses to Georgia class action gay marriage suit

Attorneys for the two defendants in the federal class action lawsuit challenging Georgia’s 2004 same-sex marriage ban responded to the suit late Monday. Their responses follow Attorney General Sam Olens’ motion to dismiss the suit on behalf of State Registrar Debbie Aderhold earlier today.

Judge Pinkie Toomer (left) swearing in Jane Morrison as Fulton County State Judge in 2013.
Judge Pinkie Toomer (left) swearing in Jane Morrison as Fulton County State Judge in 2013.

The lawyer  for Clerk of Gwinnett County Probate Court Brook Davidson argue that the defendant has to follow the letter of the law in her duties. Davidson is defended by private attorney Frank E. Jenkins of Cartersville.

“If the laws of the State of Georgia are amended by the citizens of the State of Georgia, the Georgia General Assembly (or otherwise), or are found to be unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, Defendant Davidson will continue to abide by and administer the law as amended or interpreted.”

Later in the brief:

“Defendant Davidson further admits that she has a legal duty to abide by the laws of the State of Georgia, and is required by the Georgia Constitution and state statute to issue marriage licenses in accordance with existing Georgia state law, which excludes same-sex couples from marriage in the State of Georgia.”

Fulton Probate Judge Pinkie Toomer is a known LGBT ally and swore in lesbian Jane Morrison as Fulton Superior Court Judge in 2013. Judge Toomer is being defended in the case by Fulton County Judge Kaye Woodard Burwell.

The majority of Judge Toomer’s response is boilerplate and does not contain any constitutional bombshells, mostly stating that as a judicial officer she is required to comply with state laws and the Georgia Constitution and that this role also grants her “absolute judicial immunity” to such claims.

We’ll have more info and analysis on the briefs shortly.

Full copy of Brook Davidson’s response:

Full copy of Judge Pinkie Toomer’s response: | @patricksaunders