Louisiana Marriage Equality Ban Upheld by Federal Judge

Written by scott on September 4th, 2014

Louisiana Marriage EqualityFor the first time since the US Supreme Court ruled on marriage quality last year, a federal judge has upheld a state ban on gay marriage. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman upheld the Louisiana marriage equality ban.

NOLA.com reports.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman on Wednesday became the first federal judge at the trial court level to endorse state bans on gay marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last summer in the U.S. v. Windsor, a case that has become the foundation of some 22 successful lawsuits filed by marriage rights activists in federal courts across the country. But where those cases successfully won over judges who largely saw the Windsor ruling as a powerful defense of same-sex couples rights to the same legal protections as heterosexual ones, Feldman’s ruling reads Windsor as an endorsement of states’ rights to regulate marriage. And Feldman put little stock in the cases decided in other courts, it would seem.

Feldman, an 80-year-old Reagan appointee, included a fair share of homophobia in his ruling.

Queerty flags some of the worst parts:

Marriage equality paves the way for incest. “And so, inconvenient questions persist. For example, must states permit or recognize a marriage between an aunt and niece? Aunt and nephew? Brother/brother? Father and child? May minors marry? Must marriage be limited to only two people? What about a transgender spouse? Is such a union same-gender or male-female?”

It’s all about the babies. “This Court is persuaded that Louisiana has a legitimate interest…whether obsolete in the opinion of some, or not, in the opinion of others…in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents.”

The Huffington Post flags a few more:

1. Feldman incorrectly claims being gay is a choice. “This national same-sex marriage struggle animates a clash between convictions regarding the value of state decisions reached by way of the democratic process as contrasted with personal, genuine, and sincere lifestyle choices recognition.”

2. Feldman argues same-sex marriage was “inconceivable until very recently,” and claims there’s no fundamental right for same-sex couples to be legally wed. “No authority dictates, and plaintiffs do not contend, that same-sex marriage is anchored to history or tradition. The concept of same-sex marriage is “a new perspective, a new insight,” nonexistent and even inconceivable until very recently… Many states have democratically chosen to recognize same-sex marriage. But until recent years, it had no place at all in this nation’s history and tradition. Public attitude might be becoming more diverse, but any right to same-sex marriage is not yet so entrenched as to be fundamental… There is simply no fundamental right, historically or traditionally, to same-sex marriage.”

Ari Ezra Waldmann at Towleroad.com takes down the ruling:

Judge Feldman gets it wrong. The fight for marriage equality is a fight for marriage, not anything special or different than what opposite-sex couples enjoy. Being gay is not a choice and loving someone of the same sex is not a “lifestyle choice”: it is love, it is human nature. And permitting gays to marry does not open the door to incestuous marriages, bestial marriages, or polyamorous unions. That kind of slippery slope argument doesn’t pass the laugh test. Countless jurisdictions have made the decision to allow gays to marry, a legal policy decision that has no negative health or cohesion effects on society, without improperly permitting marriages that could be damaging to those involved and to children…

(1) it [the ruling] makes a circuit split, a key reason the Supreme Court takes cases, more likely;

(2) it provides some measure of legitimacy to anti-equality forces by giving them a victory and resurrecting their outdated and hateful language; and

(3) it denies very real rights to very real families struggling in Louisiana.

LGBT activists held a rally in New Orleans to protest the decision, and the Forum for Equality has already promised a repeal.

Towleroad.com reports:

ABC News now reports that Forum for Equality, the ALCU, the Human Rights Campaign, the LGBT Community Center and PFLAG New Orleans are encouraging people in New Orleans to protest Judge Feldman’s decision tonight in Jackson Square, located in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter.

From Forum For Equality: The ruling today upheld the unconstitutional ban on recognizing loving and committed same-sex couples. Forum for Equality and the courageous couples who have lead this battle will not stop! We will take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court! We will not let one decision turn back the tide of victories because we stand on the right side of history. Rally with Forum for Equality, ALCU, HRC, LGBTCC and PFLAG today to show Louisiana that we are committed to standing for love and fairness for all.

Marriage equality foes are, predictably, overjoyed.

Tony Perkins:

This ruling is a victory for children, each of whom need and desire a mom and dad, something our public policy should encourage. This decision is a victory for the rule law, and for religious liberty and free speech which are undermined anywhere marriage is redefined. We commend Judge Feldman for refraining from judicial activism and recognizing that Louisiana voters are free to uphold natural marriage in their state’s public policy.

Brian Brown:

Here we see the house of cards collapsing that supported the myth that redefining marriage in inevitable. This decision by Judge Feldman in Louisiana is a great win for the cause of marriage, coming as it does on the heels of other pro-marriage court victories, that puts the lie to the claim that it is inevitable the US Supreme Court will redefine marriage.

I suppose it was inevitable that we would run across homophobic judge or two on the march to marriage equality. And it’s no surprise that the two judges so far have been in two of the most homophobic states in the country, Tennessee and Louisiana. Still, it’s a bit of a slap in the face that we can still be denied our rights in 2014 by a Federal Judge because he thinks we choose to be gay.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Louisiana.


3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mr Eric G. Osterberg says:

    This is outrageous, but the Federal Judge is an 80 year old Republican who is from the past. He needs to retire because his thinking is based on religious speculation, not the common sense of civil logic.
    Perhaps Judge Martin Feldman should pay our taxes since he does not want equal rights for U.S. Citizens.

  2. Lois Daniels says:

    I guess someone’s still pissed about Louisiana losing in the Civil War! (Old like Feldman is, he could probably give vivid details of it!) Quit trying to control people’s lives! Just like slavery was abolished, so will the ban on SSM!

  3. bc bob says:


Leave a Comment