April 01, 2004
Georgia Legislature Passes Anti-Family Constitutional Amendment
"No Constitution should be used to discriminate," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.
WASHINGTON - The Georgia House yesterday passed an amendment to the state constitution that denies same-sex couples and their children the basic protections and equal rights of marriage. Voters will face the question on the state ballot in November.
"No constitution should be used to discriminate," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "The people of Georgia deserve to be protected equally under their guiding document."
The amendment needed a two-thirds majority - or 120 votes - to pass. Although the House defeated the measure last month, it returned to the floor this month and passed by a vote of 122 to 52.
"The leaders in the Georgia statehouse and in the community who fought so hard against this amendment deserve enormous gratitude," added Jacques.
Allen Thornell, executive director of Georgia Equality - the statewide gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights group, told The New York Times: "The whole debate has really transformed the lives of many gays and lesbians in Georgia. For the first time, they've decided to stand up for themselves, be honest about who they are and say why their families deserve protection."
State Rep. Karla Lee Drenner - the only openly gay assembly member - was a strong advocate against the measure. Georgia Equality and local HRC leaders rallied broad opposition to the amendment. Even former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who authored the federal anti-marriage bill, voiced his disapproval of the measure and is fighting a change to United States Constitution.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.