proposition 8

First Ever GA ICLE Same Sex Legal Seminar

In March 2012, Georgia, a state which may well be one of the very last to recognize gay marriage, will celebrate a first, the first legal seminar hosted by ICLE to focus exclusively on same sex issues (click here for the brochure).

This program will be a comprehensive and thought provoking one. The first discussions will focus on the initial consultation and issues to discover and raise early. The next panel will cover the status of gay marriage and civil unions in the United States, interaction between federal and state law regarding same sex marriage, the portability of marriage and (un)availability of divorce and rights and remedies not available to gay couples where marriage or civil unions are not recognized. They will also discuss recent notable cases.

Other panels will discuss alternatives to divorce (since divorce is not available to same sex couples in Georgia) and alternative legal theories to resolve disputes under Georgia law. The entire program should be highly informative and educational. Even if you, as a lawyer, do not practice in this area, isn’t it something you/we should all understand and know what the law, and legal paths available are?

I can’t wait to watch and learn and hope you will consider joining us as we discuss these issues that many of us try to figure out each day in our practices, on a case by case basis. And again, to view the brochure and date andtime information, please click here.

Proposition 8 overturned. Same sex marriage gains ground.

Today was an historic day in family law. A federal, not simply a state court judge, ruled that same sex marriage should be allowed. While the ruling is much more than simply an opinion by a judge that such marriages should be allowed, the real significance is that the burden now shifts to opponents of same sex marriage to overturn the decision on appeal. As any lawyer will tell you, it is always better to be the Appellee than the Appellant (the one filing the appeal).

Far be it from me to attempt a full fledged legal analysis of the decision in this format, but the simple and straightforwad result of this decision is that the concept of same sex marriage has taken a huge leap forward and seems well on it’s way into acceptance, at least in our legal system. While most studies seem to indicate that the legalization of gay marriage was an eventual certainty, this case seemed to move the process along much more rapidly than many expected.

Regardless of your view on this topic, there is no doubt that this is truly an issue that will be discussed over and over, in courthouses and coffee houses.

Past generations have confronted many changes to widely held opinions and positions (Loving v. VA-interracial marriage; Roe v. Wade-abortion; Brown v. Board of Education-segretation in schools). Yes each issue is different, but the fact that in America we can examine, debate, vote, litigate, appeal, then vote again, is a wonderful thing. The checks and balances and open processes we use are extraordinary. There is no way to please everyone, but what an interesting issue and what interesting times we live in.