Gay Marriage In Georgia

The tide appears to be turning in Georgia. The AJC reports the votes for a ban are growing:

Supporters of a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage picked up another ally Tuesday as the position of the Legislative Black Caucus appeared to be splintering over the divisive issue.

African-American state Rep. Sharon Beasley-Teague (D-Red Oak), who represents parts of Fulton, Clayton and Fayette counties, said she has decided to support the proposed amendment “after a lot of praying and reading the Bible.”

“I’m voting for it,” she said during an interview. “My constituents say that if I don’t vote for it, I’m denying them the opportunity to vote on it.”

Beasley-Teague is the second black member of the state House of Representatives in recent days to voice her support of Senate Resolution 595, and those votes could help ensure passage once the measure comes back to the House floor. If the House passes the resolution, it would be put on the November ballot and become part of the Georgia Constitution if approved by voters.

The measure already has passed the Senate by the necessary two-thirds ratio, but failed last week in its first House appearance with 117 of the needed 120 votes. Beasley-Teague, who had an excused absence, and 11 other House members did not vote, and they have been lobbied heavily by both sides.

Members of the Black Caucus joined with liberal white Democrats to beat back the measure on the first House vote. Black lawmakers went 30-1 against the ban, with Rep. Henry Howard (D-Augusta) the only exception. A solid showing by the caucus is viewed as key to defeating the measure.

Both Republicans and black House leaders say pro-amendment votes by lawmakers like Beasley-Teague and state Rep. LaNett Stanley-Turner (D-Atlanta) a day earlier could doom any attempt to block the resolution when it is reconsidered by the full House.

Beasley-Teague said she does not accept the argument by some black lawmakers that gay marriage rises to the level of a civil rights issue. And she said she does not believe a constitutional same-sex marriage ban is discriminatory.

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