Though 2013 bore witness to a groundswell of support for gay marriage in states across the nation, the state of Georgia does not yet recognize gay marriage.
Atlanta residents who are waiting for gay marriage to become a reality in their home state should keep these three recommendations in mind:
- Get married somewhere else. If your domestic partnership isn't cutting it and you're dying to get hitched, your best option for the time-being is to get married in a state that allows same-sex marriage. Doing so would give you and your loved one access to federal benefits, including significant tax benefits. Last year, the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department clarified that same-sex married couples can file as "married" on their federal taxes, even if they live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
- Watch federal marriage cases. From the end of DOMA to the Prop. 8 case, nothing sets the tone for sweeping legal reform like a firestorm of federal cases. Georgia added a constitutional amendment nine years ago to ban gay marriage. It was also one of the last states to comply with a Pentagon directive to grant same-sex spouses of military members benefits. No doubt, Georgia's take on same-sex marriage has evolved slowly. But as evidenced by the current dramatic change gripping Utah, even bastions of conservative ideals are trending towards embracing gay marriage. To read Georgia's pulse, keep an eye on federal cases, because those rulings will likely inform the trajectory of Georgia law.
- Support candidates and grassroots. Randy New, an openly-gay attorney, is running as an Independent for State House District 56, the seat currently held by State Rep. "Able" Mable Thomas (D-Atlanta). A centerpiece of New's campaign is to advance LGBT rights in Georgia, including gay marriage. A number of grassroots organizations in Georgia, such as Georgia Equality, aim to promote legal protections for the gay community.
With the national trajectory clear, it's only a matter of time before Georgia signs on to gay marriage. It's not a question of "if," it's a matter of "when."
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