WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has distributed for conference an appeal by plaintiffs in a challenge to Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban.
In September, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans upheld Louisiana’s ban, a rare loss for marriage equality advocates who, at the time, had won more than 20 consecutive rulings overturning bans in other states.
An appeal of that ruling is tentatively set to be argued in January at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
However, on Nov. 20, lawyers for gay rights groups Lambda Legal and Forum for Equality Louisiana asked the Supreme Court to take the rare step of reviewing Louisiana’s case ahead of those arguments.
The justices rarely agree to hear a case before a federal appeals court has weighed in, and to date, none of the other petitions currently before the Court in the marriage cases — Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee — have been distributed for conference.
The action Wednesday does not guarantee the court will decide to hear a same-sex marriage case. But the January meeting will be the first time the justices will have had the issue before them since they opted in October against hearing appeals from five other states.
The last distribution list for the Jan. 9 conference will be created on December 23.