By James Queally, Los Angeles Times
A federal judge in Louisiana upheld the state’s ban on same-sex marriages Wednesday, marking the first time a federal court upheld a ban since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, according to court filings.
U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman ruled the state’s ban passed constitutional muster, rejecting arguments from six same-sex couples who were asking Louisiana to recognize their marriages from other states.
In the 32-page decision, Feldman ruled that Louisiana’s ban does not violate the First Amendment rights of same-sex couples. The couples were suing to overturn the state ban and have their marriages from other states recognized.
Feldman’s decision comes after dozens of state and federal judges have struck down same-sex marriage bans throughout the country, which came after a Supreme Court ruling that the federal definition of marriage between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of the advocacy group Freedom To Marry, told the Los Angeles Times that Feldman’s ruling flies in the face of the more than 40 court decisions that have found similar bans unconstitutional.
“His is the first federal court to get it wrong,” Wolfson said. “He treats what these couples are seeking as some new and different thing rather than the same freedom to marry and the same equal protection under the law that the Constitution guarantees to all of us.”
With several similar cases stuck in the appeals process throughout the country, Wolfson also said the Louisiana ruling was only further evidence that the U.S. Supreme Court needs to take up a same-sex marriage case and give a definitive ruling.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a same-sex marriage case earlier this year after his state’s ban was overturned.
Photo: Jason Paris via Flickr