Grady Newsource Explains: Same-Sex Marriage Applications in Northeast Georgia

By Rayleigh Rozier

Gender has been removed entirely from the application forms for a marriage license in Georgia following the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

“We do not track gender at all,” said Deputy Clerk Sarah Cook of the Athens-Clarke Probate Court.

While old marriage applications indicated “Bride ” and “Groom” information,  the new forms only refer to “Applicant 1” and “Applicant 2.” While other demographic data is listed, there is no mention of gender on the new applications.

Because of the change, it is difficult to track the number of same-sex couples that have received marriage licenses in Northeast Georgia. Unless the county’s probate court keeps a tally of its own, they have no data on the number of same-sex couples married.

For smaller counties, it is easier to keep track of the number via eyewitness accounts. In Jackson County, Chief Clerk Jennifer Geary reported four same-sex marriage licenses have been issued since the June 26th Supreme Court ruling. Oglethorpe County Probate Court clerk Kayla Miller said her office has issued one same-sex marriage license since the ruling, four days after the case was decided.

Madison and Oconee counties said there is no data available concerning same-sex couples due to the lack of gender information on the new marriage applications and the large quantity of marriage licenses they issue.

While there are no official numbers available, Cook said she believes around 20 same-sex couples in Athens-Clarke County have filled out applications.

“It’s like a trickle in,” she said. “I expected this lobby to be full the first day, but that wasn’t the case.”

More specific numbers, however, may become available in the next government census.

“It wouldn’t be our office,” said Cook.

 

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