Main | Wednesday, September 03, 2014

BREAKING: Federal Judge Upholds Louisiana's Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

Via the Associated Press:
A federal judge has upheld Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriages, as well as the state's refusal to recognize gay marriages legally performed in other states. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's ruling Wednesday broke a string of 20-plus court wins for supporters of same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. Feldman said gay marriage supporters failed to prove that the ban violates equal protection or due process provisions of the Constitution. Feldman agreed with state attorneys who argued that states have the right to define marriage. A spokesman for a gay rights group said an appeal is planned.
UPDATE: Here's the ruling. Dig in.

UPDATE II: You may recall that many were optimistic back in June when Feldman declared that he wanted to rule on marriage equality itself and not merely the out-of-state recognition case before him. Hopes were raised higher in July when Feldman ordered both sides to stop sending him briefs or further arguments.

UPDATE III: The Human Rights Campaign reacts.
“Today a federal district court put up a roadblock on a path constructed by twenty-one federal court rulings over the last year – a path that inevitably leads to nationwide marriage equality. Ultimately the nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States will be asked to decide whether committed and loving gay and lesbian couples should be denied an institution that they, themselves, have deemed a constitutional right more than a dozen times. We firmly believe that justice will ultimately be done.”

Judge Feldman’s ruling is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The case, Robicheaux v. Caldwell, was brought by same-sex couples in Louisiana who wish to marry in the state or have their legal marriages performed elsewhere recognized by the state. Forum for Equality Louisiana, a statewide LGBT advocacy organization, is also a plaintiff in this case.

In his ruling, Judge Feldman suggests, “it is not for this Court to resolve the wisdom of same-sex marriage,” arguing that “fundamental social change, in this instance, is better cultivated through democratic consensus.” He also claims that there are no fundamental rights at stake, even though the Supreme Court of the United States has determined that marriage is a fundamental right in more than a dozen cases. Judge Feldman goes on to dismiss copious academic research demonstrating that the children of same-sex couples fair just as well as the children of opposite-sex couples. He writes, “Louisiana's laws and Constitution are directly related to achieving marriage's historically preeminent purpose of linking children to their biological parents.”

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