LGBT rights in Georgia (U.S. state)
|LGBT rights in Georgia|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1998
(Powell v. Georgia)
|Discrimination protections||None (see below)|
|Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 limits marriage to man/woman, places restrictions on non-marriage types of same-sex unions|
Laws against homosexuality
Homosexual acts are legal in Georgia, previously criminalized until the state's sodomy laws (which applied to both homosexuals and heterosexuals) were struck down in 1998 by Powell v. Georgia (years before the 2003 federal-level strikedown by Lawrence v. Texas).
Recognition of same-sex relationships
There is no state-level legal recognition of same-sex marriages, such having been prohibited by Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1 in 2004. A few municipal entities, such as Atlanta, maintain a domestic partnerships registry for city employees who are in both same-sex and opposite sex cohabiting couples.
Inniss v. Aderhold
On April 22, 2014, three same-sex couples and a widow filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of themselves and all unmarried same-sex Georgia couples and all Georgia residents who have married same-sex spouses in other jurisdictions. They later added another couple. Two of the four couples have married in other states, Connecticut and New Hampshire. The suit, Inniss v. Aderhold, named Deborah Aderhold, State Registrar and Director of Vital Records, as the principal defendant. District Court Judge William S. Duffey Jr. is considering the defendants' motion to dismiss. Defendants argued for an extension to file their briefs because of the volatility of cases around the country. Judge Duffey granted an extension to October 22, 2014.
On January 8, 2015, Judge Duffey denied the defendants' motion to dismiss. He found that the plaintiffs were asserting they had a fundamental right to marry a person of the same sex, which is not a right protected by the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Since a fundamental right was not at issue, he explained he would assess Georgia's ban under the least restrictive standard of review, rational basis. He denied the motion because the state defendants had not yet met the rational basis standard by explaining the link between Georgia's ban on same-sex marriage and the state's interest in "child welfare and procreation".
On January 20, 2015, the defendants asked Judge Duffey to suspend proceedings until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in pending same-sex marriage cases, and the plaintiffs supported that request on January 27. On January 29, the court suspended some proceedings, but allowed the parties to appeal his earlier order to the Eleventh Circuit, so that court would have a wider set of arguments to consider along with the Florida case, Brenner v. Scott.
The case was the subject of dispute in the 2014 re-election campaign of Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, who is defending the state's position, and his opponent Greg Hecht, who advocated not defending the state's ban on marriage rights for same-sex couples. Olens was re-elected.
Georgia law does not protect against employee discrimination based on sexual orientation. The state of Georgia does not protect employees from discrimination based on gender identity. However, Clarke County and the cities of Decatur and Pine Lake protect government employees, and the city of Atlanta protects all employees against discrimination based on gender identity.
Hate crimes law
There is currently no law preventing hate crimes against members of the LGBT community.
Georgia permits post-operative transgender people to amend their sex on their birth certificates.
A March 2004 Associated Press Exit Poll found that that 42% of Georgia voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 17% supporting same-sex marriage, 25% supporting civil unions or partnerships but not marriage, and 50% favoring no legal recognition.
A 2012 Public Policy Polling survey found that 27% of Georgia residents thought same-sex marriage should be legal, while 65% thought it should be illegal, while 8% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 57% of Georgia residents supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 24% supporting same-sex marriage, 33% supporting civil unions or partnerships but not marriage, and 40% favoring no legal recognition, with 3% not sure.
An August 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 32% of Georgia residents thought same-sex marriage should be legal, while 60% thought it should be illegal, while 9% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 57% of Georgia residents supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 28% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions or partnerships but not marriage, and 39% favoring no legal recognition, with 3% not unsure.
A September 2013 Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey found that 48% of Georgia residents thought same-sex marriage should be legal, while 43% thought it should be illegal, while 9% were not sure.
- Shirley Franklin and Cathy Woolard (June 3, 2003). "Mayor franklin weighs in on behalf of domestic partnership benefits for fulton county employees". City of Atlanta.
- Saunders, Patrick (September 8, 2014). "Lambda Legal responds to Olens motion to dismiss Georgia marriage equality suit". GA Voice. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
- Sheinen, Aaron Gould (January 8, 2016). "Judge allows challenge to state’s marriage ban to move forward". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
- "Opinion and Order". Scribd.com. U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia. Retrieved January 8, 2016. Check date values in:
- "Defendants' Unopposed Motion to Stay Proceedings". Scribd.com. U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- "Plaintiffs' Response to Motion to Stay Proceedings". U.S. District Court for Northern Virginia. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
- State Bar of Georgia. "What Georgia Employers Need To Know". Georgia Secretary of State. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- "Non-Discrimination Laws That Include Gender Identity and Expression". Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- Human Rights Campaign: Georgia Birth Certificate Law: Gender Identity Issues, accessed July 6, 2011
- "Georgia: March 2004 – Associated Press Exit Poll – Majority Oppose Any Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "GA Republicans split on secession, Deal vulnerable" (PDF). 12/7/2012. Public Policy Polling.
- "Hillary competitive in Georgia" (PDF). Public Policy Polling.
- Georgia gets gay marriage when old people die