A ruling on the lawsuit challenging Louisiana’s constitutional ban on recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states could be handed down at any time, after the judge announced there would be no further arguments.
In late June, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman heard oral arguments from the plaintiffs and the state regarding the state’s refusal to recognize the unions of gay couples married in other states, and requested each side to prepare briefs on the other issues in the lawsuit.
Then last week, Feldman issued an order stating he has studied the briefs turned in by the plaintiffs and the state and decided he needs no further briefs or arguments to decide the case. He stopped short of indicating when he might rule, however.
The suit was filed in February in the U.S. District Court’s Eastern Division in New Orleans.
Plaintiffs in the suit are Forum for Equality Louisiana, the statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization, and four same-sex couples. One of the couples - Havard Scott and Sergio March Prieto – live in Shreveport. Other plaintiffs are Jacqueline and Lauren Brettner; Nicholas Van Sickels and Andrew Bond; and Henry Lambert and Cary Bond, all of New Orleans.
In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the 1996 DOMA law that denied federal benefits to same-sex marriages. In striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, a 5-to-4 majority of the Supreme Court overturned a law that denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.In striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, a 5-to-4 majority of the Supreme Court overturned a law that denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.
The lawsuit claims Louisiana discriminates against gay and lesbian couples because it recognizes marriages performed in other states that are illegal here, such as common law marriages and marriages between first cousins.
In addition, the lawsuit claims gay couples’ first amendment rights are violated in that their marriages are recognized by the federal government and they file taxes as “married filing jointly,” or “married filing separately,” their Louisiana taxes must be filed as “single.”