Fulton Probate Judges Prepare For Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Arguments at the United States Supreme Court for Same-Sex Marriage on April 28, 2015
Credit Ted Eytan / flickr.com/taedc
Audio version of this story here.

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted this week to ask its county courts to be prepared for the U.S. Supreme Court’s expected ruling on same-sex marriage this month.

The board voted 5-0 on a resolution Wednesday that asks the county’s probate court to come up with a list of judges countywide who are willing to officiate marriages. 

Georgia is one of several states that has a ban on same-sex marriage, but the Supreme Court’s ruling could throw out that ban. 

By state law, probate judges are required to issue marriage licenses, but they don’t have to perform ceremonies.  

“We want the citizens of Fulton County to know that we’re going to be open and willing to accept people who are of same-sex situations who want to marry, so we’re going to be open for business,” said Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves.

Statewide, the Council of Probate Judges says new marriage license applications will also be ready to reflect the Supreme Court’s ruling, said Chase Daughtrey, Cook County’s probate judge and past president of the council.

“Short story, we’re ready,” Daughtrey said.

The marriage application forms will be altered to change the words “bride” and “groom” to “Applicant One” and “Applicant Two,” in case the Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage, and that form will be emailed to probate judges across the state immediately after such a ruling, he said. 

“We have made our judges aware of consequences if they do not adhere to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court,” Daughtrey said.

Earlier this year, Gov. Nathan Deal said he will respect the high court’s decision, however the court rules.