MARRIAGE VS. CIVIL UNIONS: Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2004. Under the ballot question, they also banned legal recognition of same-sex civil unions from other states. Gay-rights supporters say the whole vote should be tossed because the ballot question addressed multiple issues; state attorneys argue both issues were after the same end.

WHERE THE CASE STANDS: The state Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides Tuesday and could hand down a decision soon. If the court doesn’t act by Aug. 7, Gov. Sonny Perdue vows to call a special legislative session to put the issue before voters again this year.

THE BALLOT QUESTION: The amendment approved by 76 percent of voters was much longer than the question that appeared on the ballot. The question read:

“Shall the Constitution be amended so as to provide that this state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman?”

Here’s what was added to the state constitution:

Paragraph I. Recognition of marriage.

(a) This state shall recognize as marriage only the union of man and woman. Marriages between persons of the same sex are prohibited in this state.

(b) No union between persons of the same sex shall be recognized by this state as entitled to the benefits of marriage. This state shall not give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other state or jurisdiction respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other state or jurisdiction. The courts of this state shall have no jurisdiction to grant a divorce or separate maintenance with respect to any such relationship or otherwise to consider or rule on any of the parties’ respective rights arising as a result of or in connection with such relationship.

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