A wrench was recently thrown into the battle for Georgia’s 12th Congressional District, currently held by Democrat John Barrow.
In mid-May a Georgia Superior Court judge ruled Georgia’s state-level marriage amendment unconstitutional, based on a technicality. Efforts are underway in the Georgia General Assembly to rectify the technical problems and return the amendment to the people on a ballot referendum in November. However, the Georgia Supreme Court will review the ruling, possibly before the deadline for the legislature to return the issue to the voters.
Meantime, Townhall.com obtained interviews with spokesmen for both the John Barrow and Max Burns campaigns. Both campaigns commented on the effects of the ruling, as well as other campaign-related issues.
Townhall.com speculates that the Republican voter turnout will increase significantly in Georgia if the Georgia General Assembly is able to return yet another marriage amendment to a voter referendum.
Tim Baker, Max Burns’ campaign manager, said, “We need to wait and see how the Georgia Supreme Court will rule now that they agreed to expedite the case. Certainly if the marriage amendment is back on the ballot it can help with Republican turnout, but everything we are seeing right now is that the Republican base is motivated and excited.”
Harper Lawson, communications director for Congressman Barrow, pointed to a statement released by the congressman’s office immediately after the ruling. In the statement, Congressman Barrow said that the vote in 2004 affirmed strong-held values and beliefs of people all across Georgia. He added, “Unfortunately, the people’s will was overturned in state court [on May 16th] on a legal technicality.” Barrow continued, “I believe that any individual has the right to live his or her life as they please within the law, but I also believe that marriage should follow law and tradition and remain between a man and a woman. Like most Georgians I hope that the Georgia Supreme Court will overturn yesterday’s ruling. But I’m not willing to stand by as the will of the people is cast aside on technicalities.”
As evidence of Barrow’s unwillingness to allow the courts to overrule marriage amendments state by state, he has cosponsored two bills in Congress that deal with the marriage issue: a Constitutional Amendment (HR 39), and the Marriage Protection Act (HR 1100), which would limit court jurisdiction on marriage issues.