Marriage equality's implications for Ga.

7:44 AM, Mar 27, 2013   |    comments
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US Supreme Court building in Washington (Getty Images)

ATLANTA -- Passionate protests took place Tuesday outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

It's an emotionally-charged case that could have repercussions here in Georgia, depending on who you ask.

With day one complete, Wednesday will mark the second day of arguments about same sex-marriage.

On the opening day, the court reviewed California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the state.

Thirty-eight states have instituted bans on gay marriage; nine states and the District of Columbia allow it.

If the high court rules against California, it could lead to lawsuits all around the country.

Sitting in their Atlanta condominium high above Peachtree Street, Mike Wright and Bob Glascock talk of their relationship. They've been together for 20 years and were recently married in Massachusetts -- but not in Georgia.

"We had a piece of paper that the state said, 'we recognize your relationship,' but then boarding a plane and coming home to a state that says 'we recognize nothing,'" Wright said.

"And the wonderful thing, our families also believe our relationship is as equal as theirs," Glascock added.

Both men believe this issue of marriage is a basic right. So what about any potential Supreme Court decision and its impact on this state?

Atlanta attorney Randy L. New deals with many legal issues in the LGBT community.

"Short term, there isn't much application to Georgia, the Supreme Court would have to say every state must have gay marriage. They may throw out California's objections but none of that will do much here," he said.

But Emory Professor of Law Charles A. Shanor says, depending on the outcome, there might be a different interpretation entirely.

"They could decide the California case in a narrow way, as opposed to a broad way that would allow Georgia's prohibition of same sex marriage to stand," he said.

But Professor Shanor added that isn't a guarantee, saying, "I think it is likely the court will try to avoid giving a definitive answer in all circumstances."

He also believes same sex marriage will happen, calling it irreversible.

The question, Shanor said, is this -- should it be done by the courts or by democratic process?

Mike Wright and Bob Glascock want to hear the answer to that question now.

"Our lives are no different than anyone else's. It is as normal a life as any other married life," Wright said.

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