Republican Senate candidate Art Gardner supports overturning Georgia same-sex marriage ban


WASHINGTON, April 24, 2014- On Wednesday, patent attorney Art Gardner–one of the seven Republicans gunning for Georgia’s open Senate seat–announced his support for a new class action suit seeking to overturn the Peach State’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The suit, filed Tuesday by a gay rights group called Lambda Legal, challenges the state registrar and several key legal figures in local courts over the marriage ban. Voters locked in the constitutional interdict on same-sex marriage ten years ago, and Georgia’s Supreme Court upheld the legality of the ballot question amid activist fire in 2006. In the eyes of the law, only marriages between a man and a woman warrant the recognition of Georgia courts. Gay marriages performed in any other state don’t hold legal water, a fact that has become increasingly salient as more states continue to approve same-sex marriage in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to dismantle the Defense of Marriage Act.

“I support marriage equality and I call on liberty-minded Republicans to join me in supporting this suit,” Gardner wrote in a press release. “I also call on Attorney General Sam Olens, a fellow Republican, to not fight the suit, but to allow the plaintiffs to obtain a favorable judgment directly.”

So far, Olens seems to be ignoring such calls. His spokeswoman stated on Tuesday: “The Attorney General will fulfill his constitutional obligation to defend Georgia law.” Olens will defend the ban in federal court in his capacity as the state’s chief law enforcement officer.

Gardner’s robust support of marriage equality stretches back over twenty years, when he implemented policies in a local classic car club to allow gays to join freely. A softer stance on social issues has characterized the most unique campaign on the primary trail this spring, clashing with the ultra-conservative ideals of most of the other six candidates’ platforms. The three congressmen vying for retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ seat—Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey, and Paul Broun—business titan David Perdue, and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel have each professed their support for traditional family values in the marriage arena, playing on the strong Christian dynamic at work in the state electorate.

Only three sitting Republican senators openly support gay marriage, although none will appear on a ballot this fall. Gardner stands among four current Senate candidates who either publically back marriage equality or have flirted with the idea of doing so, but few (if any) seem likely to survive their respective primaries. Despite a measurable change of heart within the GOP’s base, elected officials and those who hope to be have seemed slow to get the hint.

“I am a fiscal conservative, what some might call a budget hawk, and throwing hard-earned tax dollars away on fighting this suit is unwise,” Gardner said. “Moreover, it is also time for the State of Georgia and the Republican Party to get ahead of this issue. We (the GOP) are the original civil rights party, the Party of Lincoln, the party that strongly supported the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. This suit presents our party with a golden opportunity to steer a bold new course, one that will set the State of Georgia and the Georgia GOP on an upward path. I call on my fellow members of the GOP to join me in supporting the suit and urging the Attorney General to not fight it.”

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll conducted last year found that nearly half of all Georgians now support same-sex marriage, a far cry from the negative turn-out that swept the traditional marriage initiative into law a decade ago. Today, the headline-grabbing lawsuit may yet have a chance to gain traction in the red state’s legal system. As Jay Bookman recently mused in the AJC: “This is still Georgia, but it’s not 2004.”

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2014 Communities Digital News

• The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or management of Communities Digital News.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities Digital News, LLC. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Correspondingly, Communities Digital News, LLC uses its best efforts to operate in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine under US Copyright Law and always tries to provide proper attribution. If you have reason to believe that any written material or image has been innocently infringed, please bring it to the immediate attention of CDN via the e-mail address or phone number listed on the Contact page so that it can be resolved expeditiously.

Previous articleRecipe: Baked brie with orange fig jam (Preparation Video)
Next articleEternal Summers performs at U Street Music Hall
Sarah Westwood combines her passions for journalism with her role as a college student at George Washington University, where she is pursuing a degree in political science. She is the political editor at ViralRead, a political contributor at Young Americans for Liberty and TurningPoint USA, has written for the Wall Street Journal, the university, and has appeared on nationally-syndicated radio to discuss young conservatism. In addition to writing, she provides marketing and communication support to businesses and political organizations at events such as the United States Export-Import Banking Conference and the Conservative Political Action Conference. She is also the Director of Communications for an executive healthcare center at Johns Hopkins. Sarah is from Marietta, Georgia.
  • brandon_71087

    This is the exact kind of Republican I could vote for, and I am a millennial. I voted for Mark Kirk in Illinois and will again because he and this guy are the liberty-minded Republicans of the future. They need people like them to run for president. They would win by a wide margin if they did.

    • Amadaun

      Don’t joke with us, Brandon. You’re a Democrat and always were. Why do you people like to pose as Republicans? Is it so that real Republicans will be persuaded to vote for opponents that Democrats can easily beat? That’s Harry “Koch” Reid’s strategy. Good job in sneaking this into the Georgia race. I gotta hand it to you guys. When it comes to deception, you’re really good.

      • brandon_71087

        If I were you Amadaun, I would quit blowing hot air. Your kind are the exact reason why your side has so much trouble courting both us millennials and us independents. I am a political independent that votes with Democrats often admittedly because at the very least they are not attacking individual liberty, unlike your side that would like to establish a one-size-fits-all kind of society the likes of which Hitler and his ilk tried to establish once upon a time. I support moderate Republicans when I am able to because I agree with some of their economic policies and the concept of limited government (those that actually believe in that that is, which is to say those that actually support the freedom for people to choose their life partner and not have it chosen for them by bigots like you). Given the choice between giving up more of my money or giving up my personal liberty, I am going to choose giving up a little more money rather than sell my freedom for money. You would do well to quit shooting your mouth off and actually engage people that may be inclined to support the right kind of candidates on your side of the aisle rather than pushing them away. But then again, you can’t fix stupid.

      • James Whistler

        Republicans are anti-gay. If you’re gay, that’s reason enough.