Sam Olens' memo to state department heads

RE: IMPACT OF SUPREME COURT'S RULING IN Obergefell v. Hodges on Georgia's practices and policies related to marriage

The Supreme Court of the United States today ruled that the Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state. It does not permit bans on same-sex marriage.

This mandate requires Georgia to recognize same sex marriage in the same way it recognizes marriage between a man and a woman. Georgia's local governments are now constitutionally required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, to issue those licenses in the same way and via the same procedures employed for all other applicants, and to recognize same-sex marriages on an equal footing with all other marriages.

State agencies and state employees are required to treat those who are lawfully married in a similar fashion. State agencies and employees should immediately review their current practices related to their agency's function and benefits and ensure that their practices conform to the current state of the law.

In addition, to the extent that prior practices impact on-going services or recognition, agencies should establish a process to review any past agency decisions that must be remediated in light of the Supreme Court's ruling.

In the event that there are any questions or concerns related to the legal impact of this decision, please contact the Office of the Attorney General.