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Louisiana’s Gay Marriage Ban is Constitutional, Judge Feldman Rules
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Louisiana’s Gay Marriage Ban is Constitutional, Judge Feldman Rules

Summary: A federal judge has ruled that Louisiana’s gay marriage ban does not violate the U.S. Constitution and will uphold the ban. The ruling is in stark contrast to recent rulings in other jurisdictions that struck down such bans.

The National Law Journal has reported that a Louisiana federal judge ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional. No judge has sided with ban advocates since the U.S. Supreme Court struck a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year in United States v. Windsor.


Judge Martin Feldman wrote in his opinion that the state had the “more persuasive argument” in the battle over a “passionately charged national issue.” He noted that his opinion was an unpopular one, writing, “This court has arduously studied the volley of nationally orchestrated court rulings against states whose voters chose in free and open elections, whose legislatures, after a robust, even fractious debate and exchange of competing, vigorously differing views, listened to their citizens regarding the harshly divisive and passionate issue on same-sex marriage. The federal court decisions thus far exemplify a pageant of empathy; decisions impelled by a response of innate pathos. Courts that, in the words of Justice [Antonin] Scalia in a different context in Bond v. United States … appear to have assumed the mantle of a legislative body.”

Feldman clarified that the ban on same-sex marriage, as well as a ban on the recognition of the out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples, were not violations of the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The gay marriage ban issue has been a hot one in recent months. The U.S. Courts of Appeals for both the Fourth and Tenth Circuit have struck down such bans, as have other federal trial courts.

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Feldman borrowed language from the dissenting judges’ opinions on other rulings on the issue in his opinion.

Texas’ gay marriage ban is currently being briefed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which also covers Louisiana and Mississippi.

Feldman was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.

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