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Judge Strikes Down Ga. Ban on Gay Marriage

May 16, 2006

ATLANTA (AP) _ A judge has struck down Georgia’s ban on same-sex marriages, saying a measure overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004 violated a provision of the state constitution that limits ballot questions to a single subject.

The ruling by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell had been eagerly awaited by gay-rights supporters who filed the court challenge in November 2004, soon after the constitutional ban was approved.

Russell said ``procedural safeguards such as the single-subject rule rarely enjoy public support.″

``But ultimately it is those safeguards that preserve our liberties, because they ensure that the actions of government are constrained by the rule of law,″ the judge wrote.

Jack Senterfitt, who challenged the amendment on behalf of gay rights organization Lambda Legal, said the ruling ``protects the right of voters to make independent decisions on each independent issue.″

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