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Georgia same-sex marriage ban challenged

[JURIST] Gay rights group Lambda Legal [advocacy website] on Tuesday filed a lawsuit [complaint; press release] challenging Georgia's ban on same-sex marriage. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia [official website] on behalf of a widow and three same-sex couples [profiles]. The widow, who married her spouse in New York last year, is seeking to have her name listed on her spouse's death certificate. The other couples are seeking the right to marry in Georgia. According to Lambda Legal attorney Tara Borelli, "Georgians believe in the Southern values of love, honor and family, but as long as the State of Georgia continues to bar same-sex couples from marriage, it devalues these families and reinforces unfairness and discrimination." Plaintiffs are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Georgia's same-sex marriage ban was previously upheld [JURIST report] by the state's supreme court in 2006.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the legal community today. Earlier this month Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring [official website] filed an appellate brief [JURIST report] in support of a district court's ruling that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Also in April a federal judge granted an emergency request [JURIST report] to force Indiana to recognize an out-of-state same-sex marriage on a death certificate. One day earlier the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriages.

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