Lambda Legal files federal marriage lawsuit with same-sex couples in Georgia

Today, April 22, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit, Inniss v. Aderhold, seeking the freedom to marry in Georgia and respect for marriages legally performed elsewhere. The case, filed with pro bono co-counsel from Bryan Cave and White & Case, argues that same-sex couples should not be denied the dignity and respect that only marriage can provide. 

The lawsuit joins 64 other lawsuits in 30 other states/territories where same-sex couples are making the case for why marriage matters to all families. You can keep track of all of the marriage litigation here, or read our Q&A about what's next for marriage in the courts here

Tara Borelli, a Senior Attorney for Lambda Legal who is based in Georgia, explained today in a press release, "Every day that same-sex couples in Georgia are denied the freedom to marry, the government sends a message that their families are not worthy of dignity and respect. Georgians believe in the Southern values of love, honor and family, but as long as the State of Georgia continues to bar same-sex couples from marriage, it devalues these families and reinforces unfairness and discrimination."

Jeff Graham, Executive Director of Georgia Equality, added: "Today’s filing represents a critically important step in the ongoing work toward marriage equality in Georgia. Georgia Equality stands with these inspiring couples in their fight to enable more than 21,000 same-sex couples and their families living in Georgia the freedom to marry the person who they love."

The plaintiffs in the case include three same-sex couples who wish to marry in Georgia - including Christopher Inniss and Shelton Stroman (pictured), who are raising a 9-year-old and have been together for 13 years; Rayshawn Chandler and Avery Chandler, police officers from Atlanta together for nearly three years; Michael Bishop and Shane Thomas, who are raising two children after seven years together. Additionally, plaintiff Jennifer Sisson, a widow who lost her wife Pamela Drenner last year, is suing after Georgia state officials denied respect for the women's marriage for the purpose of listing Jennifer on Pam's death certificate.

Meet the families involved in Lambda Legal's case, and learn more about marriage litigation