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One Small Step For Same-Sex Marriage?

The Obama administration announced last week that the Justice Department would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which could mean that the law will be overturned in the near future.

The Defense of Marriage Act is the law that currently defines marriage between one man and one woman in the federal system. According to NPR, Attorney General Eric Holder says that the administration believes the lawsuits that challenge DOMA should be subject to a higher level of review by the courts. Perhaps some opposition to same-sex marriage is slowly starting to change.

Yet it's important to remember that DOMA will likely remain in force until Congress repeals the Act or the Supreme Court declares it is unconstitutional (if lower federal courts disagree). Individual U.S. states currently decide if they would like to perform and recognize same-sex marriages, but gay couples who are legally married in their state will still not have their marriage recognized at the federal level because of DOMA.

Federal lawsuits challenging DOMA bring up the question of whether the U.S. government has the power to decide on which couples can be considered legally married and if all marriages should be treated equal.

Gay marriages are currently only legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa and the District of Columbia. Same-sex marriages in the state of Georgia are not recognized under Title 19, Section 19-3-3.1 and a divorce cannot be granted to same-sex couples under this same law. Section 19-3-30 states that Georgia marriage licenses cannot be issued to persons of the same sex. More information about marriage laws in the state of Georgia and the laws of same-sex couples can be found through our Related Resource pages.

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