Georgia voters decided today to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, but even with the measure overwhelmingly approved, court challenges could prevent the matter from being settled.
Before the vote, gay rights advocates had already planned a legal challenge if the amendment were to pass. The basis of their complaint is that the amendment contains more than one subject.
Voters were asked whether marriage should be defined as only a union between a man and a woman. But the full amendment, which voters do not see on the ballot, would also bar judges from ruling on disputes between same-sex couples. So if two men had a long-term relationship and owned a house together, say, but then broke up, a judge would not be allowed "to consider or rule on any of the parties' respective rights arising as a result of or in connection with such relationship."
One opponent of the amendment, Democratic state senator David Adelman of Atlanta, said the ballot language wouldn't withstand court scrutiny. "The rush to divide us by the Christian Coalition and the right wing has resulted in shoddy legal work," he said. The Georgia supreme court refused to block the amendment from the ballot, saying it could not intervene in contests over proposed legislation or
constitutional amendments until the legislation has been passed or the amendments approved by the voters.