Attorney General: Put Ga. marriage case on hold

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Attorney General Sam Olens, no fan of gay marriage or the Supreme Court's actions on it, wants to punt the legal challenge to Georgia's gay marriage ban until after the high court rules on four other marriage cases.

Olens filed a motion on Tuesday asking U.S. District Judge William Duffey, Jr., to put the legal fight against Georgia's gay marriage ban on hold. The move comes less than two weeks after Duffey threw out Olens' efforts to have the case dismissed. It also comes four days after the Supreme Court agreed to hear four marriage cases, raising the possibility that it could issue a nationwide ruling on gay marriage in late June. 

In his motion, Olens pointed to the recent Supreme Court action and the issues the high court will decide – Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between same-sex couples and does it requires a state to recognize the marriage of a gay couple performed in another state?

“The Supreme Court’s decision on the stated issues will most certainly guide the future path of the case at bar,” Olens wrote in the brief. “As a result, Defendants ask the Court to stay proceedings in this Court until the Supreme Court rules on these pending cases.”

Lambda Legal filed the challenge, Inniss v. Aderhold, to Georgia's gay marriage ban in April. The group is not opposing Olens' motion to stay any action on the case, according to Tara Borelli, a senior attorney in Lambda Legal’s Atlanta office. 

“When the attorney general asked us for the courtesy of not opposing the motion, we agreed not to,” Borelli said. “With the Supreme Court willing to decide the questions, we weren't surprised to see that the attorney general wanted to stay the case.”

Borelli said supporters of marriage equality should not be concerned about Olens' motion. It's a common legal maneuver and any Supreme Court rulings in the cases scheduled to be heard this spring should provide “definitive guidance.”

“Both questions are part of the Georgia marriage case and we are delighted that the Supreme Court is going to provide what we expect will be definitive guidance on those questions,” Borelli said. “[This motion] is not uncommon when a higher court has decided to take up the very same question.”

It's not clear when Duffey will act on Olens' motion.

[h/t GA Voice]

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