Gay marriage wins remain vicarious in Ga.

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imageKathryn R. Smith is a blogger and web designer in Atlanta with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Women’s Studies from Agnes Scott College. She blogs about queer culture and current events. Read more on her blog and follow her on Twitter.

I was happy to see that Americans can now add Vermont to the short list of U.S. states where same-sex marriage is legal.

The Vermont Senate and House voted (23 to 5 and 100 to 49, respectively) Tuesday morning to overturn Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto of the state’s gay marriage bill. Vermont is the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage by legislative measure (as opposed to court order).

“Today we have overridden the governor’s veto. I have never felt more proud of Vermont as we become the first state in the country to enact marriage equality not as the result of a court order, but because it is the right thing to do,” Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Shumlin said in a statement to the Human Rights Campaign.

A short time later, my attention shifted to Washington, D.C., where the Council voted unanimously to recognize gay marriages performed outside of the district. As I read about the progress being made for marriage equality in other states, I can’t help but feel a little melancholy about the state of things here in Georgia, where even bringing the issue of gay marriage back up for consideration could take a long time. If, as Shumlin suggests, marriage equality is “the right thing to do”, Georgians seem to revel in being wrong.

Georgia is one of the states that bans gay unions (marriage or civil) through an amendment to its constitution. The measure not only prohibits gay marriage, it also bans same-sex unions and denies rights and legal protections to resident same-sex couples who were married in other states.

Having passed in 2004 by 76 percent of voters and unanimously upheld in 2006 by the Georgia Supreme Court just two months after a lower court judge voided the original vote, it looks as if this constitutional amendment is here to stay.

As more of the U.S. leans towards acceptance of same sex rights as civil rights, and until a major shift in Georgia’s regime and ideology occurs, I guess I will be with many gay marriage supporters in the state, sitting on the sidelines experiencing victories vicariously through others.

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