Court rulings draw criticism, praise in Atlanta - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Court rulings draw criticism, praise in Atlanta

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ATLANTA -

The Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage prompted strong reaction on both sides of the fence in Atlanta.

On one hand, some gay rights advocates say the rulings are a sign that they should push for legal marriages in our state..

On the other, some faith leaders say the ruling is a sign that the country is headed in the wrong direction.

DECISION DECRIED

Georgia is among roughly three-dozen states that ban gay marriage. Attorney General Sam Olens issued a statement saying the state would be unaffected by the high court ruling.

"The decision does not affect existing state definitions of marriage; in fact, it explicitly says that it is limited to marriages recognized by states as lawful," Olens said in the statement.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said the Supreme Court appeared to have preserved states' rights.

"Back in 2004, we had this on the ballot and the people of Georgia spoke clearly about the issue. I think states' rights will be very important as we move forward," said Cagle.
 
Jerry Luquire, the head of the Georgia Christian Coalition, said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. He is among those expecting future court cases on the issue of gay marriage and state law.

"I think that there will be plaintiffs and defendants going to court with this as a background. A lot of court action is based on precedent and this will get some withstanding into court," said Luquire.

But for now at least, the Supreme Court rulings will have little direct impact on same-sex couples who want to marry in Georgia.

Rehoboth Baptist Church Pastor Troy Bush said he touched on the high court decision during his Wednesday night services. He said that he reminded the congregation to love unconditionally, but stay true to their values.

"We believe God's best and his design is for one man and one woman to be husband and wife in marriage," said Bush. "It's something that's been both a tradition culturally and legally in our country since the founding of our country, so we're disappointed in the decision. At the same time, we love our neighbors.

The 2004 ban of same sex marriage was overwhelmingly approved by Georgia voters. Since that time, national polls have shown movement in favor of gay marriage.

SUPPORTERS CELEBRATE RULING

Supporters of gay marriage held a rally in support of the Supreme Court's ruling at Piedmont Park in midtown Atlanta on Wednesday.

"I'm out here because this is the biggest thing to happen to the Constitutional law since Roe vs. Texas," said Rachel Buddy. "This means I can marry my fiancé and we can be seen as equal citizens."

Attendees of the rally carried signs and flags proclaiming their approval of the ruling.

"This is huge for equality and for people to stop treating same-sex couples as third-class citizens," said Sted Mays.

Seth and Nate Persily brought their 4-year-old twin girls to be a part of the moment.

"For our family, it means that these kids will have two legally married parents and that our family is equal to any other family out there. And we're not there yet in Georgia but we're so close,' said Seth Persily.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed released a statement saying, "The Supreme Court ruling to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act was a courageous decision and is an enormous victory for loving, married couples and their families. It is my hope that today's decision puts our nation on an inevitable path toward the day when all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, can enjoy equal protection under the law and marry the ones they love. "

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