Today, Southerners for the Freedom to Marry – in partnership with Georgia Equality – launched a pledge signed by 206 lawyers who support the freedom of same-sex couples in Georgia to marry. The attorneys cite the constitutional provisions of liberty and equality under the law for all residents.
“My understanding of the constitutional right of all Americans to equal treatment under the law certainly includes the fundamental freedom of couples to marry. I find this view to be entirely consistent with my strong belief in conservative principles like individual liberty, limited government, and the social importance of strong families,” said Lynn Hogue, Professor of Law Emeritus at Georgia State University and pledge signer.
The group is called Georgia Lawyers for the Freedom to Marry and includes prominent attorneys from communities across the state, including Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, and Athens.
“As we see legal challenges to exclusionary marriage bans continue to move through the American courts at a record pace – including here at home in Georgia – I felt compelled to add my name to this pledge,” said attorney Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker. “Laws exist to protect Americans and ensure our freedoms, not to inflict undue harm and hardship on some families and couples just because of who they are.”
The pledge and its signers can be viewed here. Other notable signers include American constitutional law expert Michael J. Perry, the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University, and Georgia State University College of Law Family Law Professor Tanya Washington who added: “These laws that purportedly defend marriage do so at the expense of children. I support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples because it will ensure that greater numbers of children will be raised in families and have relationships with their parents that enjoy the full recognition of the law.”
This past spring, Southerners for the Freedom to Marry launched a significant public education campaign to bring marriage equality to the South, featuring Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed as a co-chair. Civil rights leader Representative John Lewis starred in the kick-off video for the $ 1 million effort.