ATLANTA; The rallying efforts of black clergymen in Georgia paid off on Wednesday, as the Georgia House voted to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution.
The amendment, which will appear on the ballot this autumn, is highly likely to pass since voter's polls have consistently shown a wide disapproval for gay "marriage".
Georgia already bans gay marriage, but this matter is not addressed in the constitution. Once the amendment is passed it will not only ban the legalisation of gay "marriage" in Georgia, but it will also prohibit the recognition of gay "marriage" licenses obtained from other states.
Civil unions and supporters of the complete ban on gay marriages keenly saw that without a clear constitutional amendment, activist judges and officials will continue to stretch and challenge the law.
"We cannot let judges in Boston, or officials in San Francisco define marriage for the people of Georgia," said Bill Hembree, the amendment's sponsor referring to other hotspots in the national debate over gay marriage.
When the amendment was first debated at the Democratic House last month, it was narrowly defeated, mostly because of the opposition of black lawmakers who compared the gay rights debate to the civil rights struggle.
However, a month later a coalition of black pastors in Georgia clarified that comparing the two movements would be an insult to the hard-earned struggles of the black leaders of the past. Since then several of the black lawmakers changed face and voted Yes,giving the amendment the needed two-thirds majority to pass.
Democrat Rep. Randal Mangham was one of those black lawmakers who abstained from the first vote, and voted for the amendment on Wednesday.
"I don't appreciate having to explain to my 9-year-old why two big husky guys are kissing," Mangham said, then added: "God discriminates against the act, but he loves the person. I will continue to protect people who live that lifestyle."
Currently, 38 states have laws that define marriage solely as a heterosexual institution.
Pauline J. Chang
Georgia to Ban All Forms of Gay Unions
Published 02 April 2004 | Christian Today