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Federal judge upholds Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage

Louisiana

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

Feldman said the Supreme Court decision “correctly discredited” the Defense of Marriage Act’s effect on New York law legalizing same-sex unions. But, he also noted language in the decision outlining the states’ historic authority to recognize and define marriage.

He also said that neither the Supreme Court, nor the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, have defined gay people as a protected class in discrimination cases.

“In light of still-binding precedent, this Court declines to fashion a new suspect class. To do so would distort precedent and demean the democratic process,” wrote Feldman, a 1983 appointee of President Ronald Reagan.

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It is unlikely Feldman’s ruling will derail gay marriage’s path to the Supreme Court, as observers have long said the issue of whether gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry would ultimately need to be decided by the nation’s high court.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering arguments over six gay marriage cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Two other appellate courts, the 10th Circuit in Denver and the 4th Circuit in Virginia, have overturned statewide gay marriage bans in Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia. However, those rulings and others overturning gay marriage bans have been put on hold while appeals are considered.

Feldman’s ruling is here.

Developing story. This report will be updated.

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