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Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast, New Orleans, Louisiana

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

The Grand Victorian is a wonderful New Orleans gay friendly bed and breakfast located in the Garden District just minutes from the French Quarter. Designed and built in 1893 by famed New Orleans architect Thomas Sully, this gay friendly bed and breakfast in New Orleans has been lovingly restored to its former glory and decorated with period furnishings to welcome you to a majestic past with modern comforts and conveniences. The furniture in the house dates back to the turn-of-the-century, covering a span of about thirty years.

See the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Louisiana

Featured Gay Friendly Wedding Vendor: Houmas House Plantation and Gardens, Darrow, Louisiana

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Houmas House Plantation and Gardens

Periodically we’ll feature one of our vendors here to let our readers know about some great people who can help you plan the perfect wedding.

Our historic gardens and Mansion are the perfect setting for the most beautiful weddings. Our Ballrooms are designed for receptions for 2 to 2000 guests. Houmas House is known as the most beautiful Gardens in the South, and our Inn offers 21 rooms for overnight stay.

See the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors in Louisiana

Analysis of the Fifth Circuit Hearings

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Fifth Circuit New OrleansThere are several great summaries out there about what happened yesterday at the Fifth Circuit, which heard marriage equality appeals from Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Among others, I recommend the summaries from Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade and Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed. I would like to go one step deeper. I have listened to the audio from the oral argument (as you can too, here). As with other oral arguments, I find the most insightful indication of how a judge is leaning is not the number of questions asked or to which lawyer he asks more, but the language and tone of those questions. I found that especially true with Judge Higginbotham (pictured, right) on Friday.

When analyzing oral arguments, I always caution that any connection between a judge’s questions and his or her ultimate decision is purely speculative. There are court-watchers who do studies about these things. But my reports on marriage equality hearings at the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits, not to mention at the Supreme Court, suggest that we can draw conclusions. On all the metrics, it looks like marriage equality will win the day at the Fifth Circuit.

First, I will discuss those metrics. Then I will discuss where we go from here.

Questions Asked To Lawyers. This metric is based on the notion that appellate court judges tend to ask more questions to the side of the argument they are inclined to oppose. That makes some sense: you ask questions because you are skeptical. As a related point, the side peppered with more questions presumably has the tougher case to make, which makes it more likely to lose. Sometimes, a judge will lob a helping hand at a beleaguered attorney, but you can bracket those and come up with a simple analysis.

Authored By Ari Ezra Waldman – See the Full Story at Towleroad.com

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Fifth Circuit Marriage Equality Hearing Recap

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Fifth Circuit New Orleans

The Fifth Circuit took on marriage equality cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi yesterday, and things look promising:

Hearing Times: Louisiana’s case was heard at 9 a.m., followed by Mississippi at 10 a.m. and Texas at 11 a.m full story

Photos from Outside: The Dallas Voice has some photos as people gathered for the trial outside the courthouse. full story

No Protests: Despite predictions, no one should up to protest against marriage equality outside the hearings. full story

Swing Vote Skeptical: From the tone and questions during the Louisiana hearing, it appears that Judge Higginbotham, considered the swing vote, will likely strike down the ban. full story

Second Judge Also Skeptical: Judge James Graves, an Obama appointee, also expressed skepticism about Louisiana’s ban. full story

Third Judge Cites 40 Year Old Case: Judge Smith, during the hearings, tried to justify the bans based on Baker, a Supreme Court decision from 1971 that many legal experts say has become outdated. full story

Marriage Equality “Novel” and “Risky”: Louisiana’s case to uphold its ban came down to calling same sex marriage “novel” and “risky”. full story

Louisiana Oral Arguments: Joe.My.God has the oral arguments from the Louisiana hearing. full story

150 Rally for Marriage Equality: About 150 people braved sub-freezing temperatures in Dallas to demand the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals srike down the bans. full story

Now we wait for the rulings in the three states.

USA, Louisiana: US Supreme Court to Look at State’s Marriage Equality Case

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Louisiana mapThe US Supreme Court has decided to at least consider taking another marriage equality case.

Equality on Trial reports:

The Supreme Court, in a brief update to the docket page for the Louisiana marriage case Robicheaux v. George, has noted that the case will be taken up in its next conference, on January 9. The case is the only one involving marriage equality that is currently listed for that conference, but the Court has a few more opportunities to add the rest of the cases.

Interestingly, the Court will consider taking the case on the same day that the Fifth Circuit hears it.

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Louisiana Marriage Equality Ban Upheld by Federal Judge

Thursday, 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.

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Louisiana Marriage Equality Ruling Due Shortly

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Louisiana mapA federal judge says he is ready to rule in the Louisiana marriage equality case.

On Top Magazine reports:

A federal judge has signaled he’s ready to rule on a challenge to Louisiana’s gay marriage ban… U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who was nominated to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan, heard arguments in the case last month in New Orleans. Feldman has already stated that he wants to broaden the case’s scope to include whether gay couples should be allowed to wed in the state, saying it would be unfair to rule “piecemeal.”

Waiting breathlessly on Arizona and Louisiana…

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Louisiana Marriage Equality Poll Shows 55% Oppose It

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

titleA new poll shows opposition to marriage equality has dropped 8% in less than a year.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Voters in Louisiana remain strongly opposed to same-sex marriage but opposition continues to decline, according to the latest polling from Public Policy Polling. The poll released Tuesday finds that 55 percent of respondents said they opposed legalizing same-sex marriage in Louisiana, while 32 percent said they would support it. Last August, the same polling firm reported 63 percent of Louisiana respondents opposed same-sex marriage, a 12-point shift in favor of same-sex marriage over the past 11 months.

Of course, we also have an April showing only 47% opposition in the state, but that one always seemed like a bit of an outlier to me.

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Louisiana Marriage Equality Case Takes Surprise Turn

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

The judge in the Louisiana marriage equality case had a surprise for the plaintiffs.

Louisiana mapThe Advocate reports:

The attorneys stuck to one specific issue as they made their case before a judge in New Orleans on Wednesday: whether gay and lesbian couples married legally in other states should be recognized as married in Louisiana, which has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman had other ideas. After hearing about an hour and half of oral arguments on the question before him, Feldman announced that he wants to decide on both issues involved in gay marriage lawsuits going on around the country; in other words, not just whether Louisiana must recognize legal marriages from elsewhere, but whether Louisiana must also allow same-sex couples to wed here. “I feel uncomfortable resolving some issues one way or the other and not all issues one way or another,” Feldman said before calling lawyers for both sides into a private conference to sketch out a time line for additional briefs and oral arguments.

Sounds like a good sign… 🙂

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Louisiana Marriage Equality Lawsuit Gets Day in Court Today

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Louisiana mapToday is the day for the Louisiana marriage equality lawsuit in court.

On Top Magazine reports:

A federal judge on Wednesday will hear arguments in a case challenging Louisiana’s ban on gay marriage. LGBT rights group Forum for Equality Louisiana filed a case in February on behalf of four gay couples who say the state’s refusal to recognize their out-of-state marriages violates the U.S. constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. The case was consolidated with a similar challenge involving two gay couples.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who was nominated to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan, will hear arguments in the case in New Orleans.

We’ve reached a saturation point where every state that has not embraced marriage equality now has at least one lawsuit pushing for it. How far we’ve come in the year since Windsor.

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