Atlanta may have the reputation of being “the city to busy to hate,” but the state of Georgia itself isn’t aspiring to that same rep. Not by a long shot. I wrote earlier about Georgia’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink anti-gay marriage amendment getting tossed out in court, for failing to conform to the rules and procedures for putting an amendment on the ballot. Namely, it not only banned same sex marriage, but also attempted to prohibit any legal arrangement between same-sex couples that might resemble marriage (like a medical power of attorney, for example).
I’m reminded of something I said when Oklahoma’s gay adoption ban was tossed out in court. The opposition may be shooting themselves in the foot by overreaching, driven by the virulence of the hatred. But we might also have to add hastiness to that, because Georgia’s jonesin’ another shot at same-sex marriage.
Georgia’s highest court said Tuesday it would expedite its review of a ruling that struck down the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage.
A Superior Court judge earlier this month ruled that the ban violated the Georgia Constitution’s single-subject rules for ballot questions because it addressed issues other than gay marriage, including civil unions.
Gov. Sonny Perdue called for a quick review by the Georgia Supreme Court and said if the high court failed to rule by Aug. 7 he would call a special session of the Legislature to get another gay marriage ban measure on the November ballot.
You don’t have to be a genius to know why Perdue wants the amendment on the ballet in November. But as KipEsquire points out, the rush to bring bigotry back to the ballot could mean the state will trip over itself again.
Whatever happened to the warning that hasty decisions make for bad law?
But of course it’s never really about good or bad laws, is it? It’s about good or bad politics. And in Georgia, bigotry is always good politics.
And if you want some idea of how bad it can get, Jill posted about the consequences of Ohio’s anti-gay marriage amendment. I got a little snarky about it earlier, when a judge ruled that the hastily passed law prohibited unmarried persons from filing domestic violence charges. The Ohio legislature planned to close that loophole, but not for gay couples.
Now a court has verified that, yes indeed, the amendment bars prosecutors from charging some unmarried people with domestic violence. But, unlike the case in the article I linked to last year, this one has a interesting twist.
The appeals court upheld the dismissal of a domestic violence charge against Karen Ward of Fairborn, charged with assaulting her live-in boyfriend in Greene County.
Got it? See, being in such a hurry to get your hate on at the ballot box can really screw things up. How many people intended for a gay marriage ban to end up making life harder for straight guys? (Dumb question. Probably more people than I’d like to know about.)
The point is that people need to think before going to the ballot box, because the laws that they’re enacting to hurt our families end up hurting their families too. And the reason is simple. Our families aren’t that different from theirs, and and our families have all the same problems and need the same protections as theirs.
Whether it’s domestic violence between a straight unmarried couple or domestic partnership for a pair of elderly siblings sharing a home, or a someone taking care of a elderly relative several times removed; we’re all families and we all have the same needs. In your rush to deny rights and protections to our families, you might end up taking them away from yourself too.
That’s the lesson to be learned here. But Georgia, being firmly in the control of the wingnuts, won’t get it. My guess is that they’ll just try to hate more carefully and specifically next time around. And it’ll probably pass, and probably end up right back in court.