U.S./World: Federal judge upholds Louisiana marriage ban

Beyond the Carolinas

NEW ORLEANS — For the first time since last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court decision knocking down part of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, a federal court has ruled to uphold a state’s anti-LGBT marriage ban.

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman ruled on Sept. 3 that Louisiana’s anti-LGBT state constitutional amendment does not violate the Constitution’s equal protection or due process guarantees.

“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.” wrote Feldman.

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The judge ruled it was not the court’s place to make or approve policy.

Louisiana’s anti-LGBT marriage ban was approved in 2004 by 78 percent of voters. Same-sex marriage, though, is now legal in 19 states and in Washington, D.C. Several cases challenging a variety of states’ bans have been heard or are pending in several circuit courts of appeal.

A conservative anti-LGBT group, the Louisiana Family Forum, welcomed Feldman’s ruling.

“This ruling confirms that the people of Louisiana — not the federal courts — have the constitutional right to decide how marriage is defined in this state,” Gene Mills, the group’s president, said in a news release.

Plaintiffs in the case say they will appeal the ruling.

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“Every citizen of the United States deserves protection of their rights, uphill climb or not,” said Mary Griggs, chairwoman of Forum for Equality Louisiana.

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