Lawsuit filed in Georgia for marriage equality

The state of Georgia sued for marriage equality. (x)

The state of Georgia sued for marriage equality. (x)

Lambda Legal filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Georgia on Tuesday. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Michael Bishop and Shane Thomas, Rayshawn and Avery Chandler, widow Jennifer Sisson, and lead plaintiffs Christopher Inniss and Shelton Stroman. The lawsuit contests Georgia’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and recognition of those performed in other states.

After being denied a marriage license on April 10 at the Fulton County Probate Court, Bishop, 44, and Thomas, 50, joined the lawsuit. The couple has a 3-year-old daughter and 5 year-old son. “We live our lives very privately, and for us to move into the spotlight for this purpose took a lot of thought and deliberation,” said Bishop, who has been with Thomas for seven years. “We are proud Georgians; this is where we want to live. We want to have protection under the law of our family and our relationship here in our home state. That is absolutely important to us.”

Tara Borelli, a senior attorney in Lambda Legal’s Atlanta office said, “Every day that same-sex couples in Georgia are denied the freedom to marry, the government sends a message that their families are not worthy of dignity and respect. Georgians believe in the Southern values of love, honor and family, but as long as the state of Georgia continues to bar same-sex couples from marriage, it devalues these families and reinforces unfairness and discrimination.”

Four states nationally still have uncontested bans on same-sex marriage including Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Georgia was one of them until the lawsuit was filed on Tuesday.

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