Inniss v. Aderhold
On January 8, a federal judge denied a Motion to Dismiss in this federal legal case led by Lambda Legal seeking the freedom to amrry 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 judge's denial of the motion means that the case is permitted to move forward.
On January 20, following an order from the U.S. Supreme Court granting review in a similar marriage case, defendants in Inniss requested in an unopposed motion that this case be put on hold pending resolution from the U.S. Supreme Court.
On April 22, 2014, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry in Georgia and respect for marriages legally performed elsewhere.
Tara Borelli, a Senior Attorney for Lambda Legal who is based in Georgia, explained, "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 andShelton Stroman, 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.