Georgia’s House Bill 543, the last bill to win legislative approval during the Peach State’s legislative session, might have flown under the radar largely unnoticed by the majority of Georgians but not the LGBT community.
Ryan Lee of Georgia Voice, a pro-LGBT news outlet, said, “When Gov. Kemp signed the bill into law May 6, Georgia quietly became a national leader in protecting LGBTQ parents.”
The new law, which was approved with near-unanimous votes in both chambers and signed by Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp, will allow any person, including the non-biological “parent” in a same-sex marriage, to petition a superior court judge for custody rights if he or she can show proof of a “permanent, unequivocal, committed and responsible parental role in the child’s life.”
How did the state miss the real meaning behind this bill? Writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jim Galloway says that the bill’s relevance to LGBT parents never came up in committee hearings or floor debate. Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, who teaches family law at Emory University School of Law, said, “I think people knew this was going to help a [small] number of people—and some of those people were gay people—who had been functioning in reality as parents. But I don’t think there was interest in making that issue a public talking point.”
The law goes into effect July 1.
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