The pressure on Nathan Deal to resist same-sex marriage

Today's premium edition of the AJC contains these passages about how Georgia's smooth transition on gay marriage was no accident. Here's a snippet:

Looking behind the scenes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that there was a concerted, coordinated effort to ensure that Georgia's response to the ruling was untroubled and that the implementation was well-ordered.

Clearly, many factors played a role. Atlanta is a Southern gay mecca, and despite many Georgians holding faith-based opposition to gay marriage many others here were ready for same-sex marriage to go mainstream.

Georgia leaders didn't strike a hostile tone, although records obtained by the AJC show Gov. Nathan Deal was under considerable pressure to resist. He was slammed with hundreds of letters, calls and petitions within hours of the ruling.

The vast majority of those letters urged him to defy the ruling, or at least urge courts to refuse to immediately recognize it.

"Actions speak louder than words," wrote Charles Griggs, who urged Deal to convene a special session to defy the ruling. "It is more important to send a clear message that Georgia leaders will not stand idly by and do nothing as the Supreme Court continues calculated legal destruction of state rights that makes our democracy so strong."

Pastor William Hurst Jr. of Temple, Ga. pleaded with Deal to tell him he was reading his office's statement that it would follow the court's ruling wrong. "I, for one, will not comply and I am calling for pastors everywhere to join me."

But a handful of others struck a different note. Rob Johnson, who identified himself as a gay Republican, wrote Deal to commend him for a "much more appreciable approach" than neighbors that sought to resist the ruling.

"Rather than further try to segregate the people of Georgia that you represent," he wrote, "you have chosen to ask them to accept the ruling."