First Federal Judge Rules Against Marriage Equality
Originally printed 9/3/2014 (Issue 2236 - Between The Lines News)
LOUISIANA -For the first time since Windsor v. United States, striking down DOMA in 2013, a federal judge has ruled a state's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, a 1983 Reagan appointee, upheld Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage on Sept. 3, referring to marriage equality as "lifestyle choice recognition," implying that the judge believes sexuality to be willfully chosen.
"Every citizen of the United States deserves protection of their rights, uphill climb or not," said Mary Griggs, chairwoman of Forum for Equality Louisiana.
Robicheaux et. Al v Caldwell is a federal case that was consolidated earlier this year with Forum for Equality Louisiana v. Barfield. The plaintiffs originally sought respect for marriages performed in other states, but in June Feldman ordered additional briefing in the cases about whether same-sex marriage couples should be free to marry within the state itself, Adam Polaski writes for FreedomtoMarry.org.
"Public attitude might be becoming more diverse, but any right to same-sex marriage is not yet so entrenched as to be fundamental," Feldman wrote in his departure. "It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue, if this Court were confident in the belief that those cases provide a correct guide."
Feldman linked same-sex marriage to the persistence of incest, pedophilia, polygamy and throws in some transphobic comments as well.
"And so, inconvenient questions persist. For example, must the 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? All such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another, just like the plaintiffs," Feldman said.
Feldman concluded that the state gave "a credible, and convincing, rational basis" for the ban.
"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," Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said. "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."
The ruling is likely to be appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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