On Wednesday, the Supreme Court dealt a monumental ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act adopted in 1996 that denied same-sex married couples from receiving Federal benefits. Legally married couples will now receive benefits in the states that allow same-sex marriage, but Georgia isn't one of them.
"Apparently the ruling says that yes the Federal Government should in its tax policies acknowledge the rule that the states put in place. Since we do not have that in our state, that really is not an issue at this point," said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.
Others weighed in on the decision as well. Attorney General Olens has released the following statement on the Supreme Court's DOMA decision:
"Today, the Supreme Court of the United States held 5-4 that Congress violated equal protection when it defined marriage for federal purposes differently from the way the State of New York defined it. I disagree with the Court's decision. But it is important to understand what the decision does and does not mean.
Today's decision rests on the basic assumption â" with which I strongly agree â" that the power to define marriage is a power traditionally reserved to the States. The decision does not affect existing state definitions of marriage; in fact, it explicitly says that it is limited to marriages recognized by states as lawful. I agree with the Chief Justice that this limitation means what it says. The definition of marriage adopted by Georgia's voters is unaffected by today's decision."
Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Courts' ruling today on the Defense of Marriage Act:
"Today's ruling is a disappointment to those of us who believe in the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman. It is also of great concern to those of us who believe in the traditional role of the court. The more the judicial branch creeps into an activist role, the more it defies the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives and President.
"The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. By overturning it without cause, the Court today stepped beyond the constitutional limits to its power."
Though it doesn't change much to Georgia today, the ruling could affect the state's marriage laws in the future.