News (USA)

Louisiana Supreme Court urged to rule in same-sex marriage case

Louisiana Supreme Court building in New Orleans.
Louisiana Supreme Court building in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS — Lawyers on both sides of a same-sex marriage case urged Louisiana’s Supreme Court on Thursday to rule soon on the matter even though the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to do so by late June.

Kyle Duncan, making the state’s argument that its ban on same-sex marriage should stand, argued that the nation’s highest court “needs as much input as possible on this issue, especially from state supreme courts.”

Paul Baier and Josh Guillory, arguing on behalf of two women legally married in California, said the case involves an urgent question about whether one can adopt the child of the other. “At the heart of this matter is a 10-year-old little boy,” Guillory said.

Louisiana voters approved a 2004 amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriages in the state and forbids the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions. In September, state District Judge Edward Rubin of Lafayette ruled the ban unconstitutional.

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The case involved Angela Costanza and her wife, Chasity Brewer. Rubin ruled that Constanza may adopt Brewer’s son and be listed as a parent on his birth certificate.

Rubin’s ruling, which was suspended pending appeal, only affects the state’s 15th Judicial District: Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes. The case has been widely overshadowed by federal cases, including another September ruling in which U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans upheld Louisiana’s ban.

Gay marriage advocates took the Feldman ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments on the same day it considered rulings knocking down bans in neighboring Mississippi and Texas. The 5th Circuit’s decision is pending.

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