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Dawson County will issue same sex marriage licenses
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In a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court, Georgia and 12 other holdout states must recognize the union of same-sex couples.

The courts June 25 decision was 5-4.

The Dawson County Probate Judges office is ready to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but, as of presstime, no couples had applied.

We have the proper forms in place, Probate Judge Jennifer Burt said. The form says Applicant 1 and Applicant 2 instead of bride and groom.

Burt said the administrative process for obtaining a marriage license for a same-sex couple is identical to the process for a man and woman applying.

It is the same as the law requires, she said.

That process says both applicants must appear in person to complete the marriage license; at least one person has to be a resident of Georgia; the fee for a license for a couple with a certificate of pre-marriage counseling is $16; for couples without the certificate, the fee is $56; certified copies of the license are an additional $10, according to the Dawson County Probate Courts website.

Premarital counseling must include at least six hours of instruction involving marital issues conflict management, communication skills, financial responsibilities, child and parent responsibilities and extended family roles, the website states. The program must have been completed within 12 months prior to the application, and the couple must have undergone the education together. .

Dawson Pastor Tony Holtzclaw said Harmony Baptist Church will not perform same-sex marriages.

Homosexuality is an abomination to God, he said. I dont think this is something our country needs right now. We have greater things going on in this world. Children are hungry. People are homeless.

Holtzclaw has been the pastor at Harmony Baptist Church for two years.The Bible makes it clear in Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 and in First Corinthians 7:2 what our churchs position is, he said.

Elders with Grace Presbyterian Church in Dawsonville, who are elected by the congregation, have chosen not to grant approval for same-sex weddings, even though The Presbyterian Church USA allows churches to permit such ceremonies.

I will not be conducting same-sex ceremonies, Pastor David Jordan said, as the session of Grace Presbyterian Church is opposed to such, and I serve under their authority and with their blessing.

It is our hope that believers in Jesus Christ, regardless of their position on this contentious issue, will show grace and compassion to their their Christian sisters and brothers who may have different opinion. Animosity, unkindness and misrepresentation of those with whom we disagree will only be detrimental to Jesus stated requirements of loving God and each other unconditionally.

The highest court in America stated that the Constitutions guarantee of due process and equal protection under the law means that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states.

Ruling in favor of same-sex marriage were United States Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Justices ruling against were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas.

The ruling takes effect immediately.

On Twitter, Gov. Nathan Deal said he would accept the high courts decision.

While I believe that this issue should be decided by states and legislatures, not the federal judiciary, I also believe in the rule of law, the post stated. The state of Georgia is subject to the laws of the United States, and we will follow them.