State lawmakers backing Georgia's proposed gay marriage ban are asking a court for permission to intervene in a lawsuit challenging whether it can appear on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment. A superior court judge in Fulton County will hear arguments Friday in the suit, which was filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the Atlanta law firm of Alston and Bird.
The suit claims the proposed amendment violates the state constitution because the summary that voters will see asks only whether marriage should be limited to a man and a woman, while the actual amendment deals with additional issues like civil unions and the jurisdiction of state courts.
Sen. Mike Crotts, who authored the measure, said at a capitol news conference that he doesn't see a problem. "This bill has gone through the scrutiny," he said. "It was drafted by the legislative counsel here. It has gone through the review process of the people within the legal system. It has gone through three months of scrutiny by committee process."
The measure was passed during the last legislative session.
Crotts said he and other lawmakers are asking the court for permission to intervene in the case to make their point of view known and help Atty. Gen. Thurbert Baker defend against the suit.
Sen. Seth Harp, who appeared with Crotts at the news conference, said the groups challenging Georgia's proposed amendment "have shown a complete history of making sure they test this process in every state that has sought to go to a constitutional amendment." He added, "Frankly, that's the reason why we need a constitutional amendment in Georgia--to make certain that they don't cherry-pick a judge somewhere."