Louisiana officials delay issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

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Kenneth Upton, attorney for the organization Lambda Legal, filed a letter Friday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking an immediate reversal of U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman’s 2014 order upholding Louisiana’s ban. The 5th Circuit heard arguments on bans in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas several months ago and decisions in each were pending. Also pending was a state Supreme Court decision in an appeal of a state district judge’s ruling against the ban.

“Our agencies will have no choice but to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision when the 5th Circuit Court orders the ruling into effect – even though we disagree with it and believe it was wrongly decided, and has nothing to do with the Constitution,” said Mike Reed, a spokesman for Jindal.

“As the mayor of a city that has long embraced the principles of inclusion, tolerance and diversity, I am more than pleased to see the Supreme Court and the United States embrace these same principles,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

Jindal, campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, took the opposite view.

“This decision will pave the way for an all-out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision,” Jindal said in a fundraising email. “This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.”

Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved a 2004 amendment to the state constitution that banned same-sex marriages in the state and prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions. Gay rights advocates have said polling shows a shift in voter attitudes since then.

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“I am extremely disappointed by this decision,” Caldwell, who had fought to support the state ban, said in a news release. “It fails to respect traditional marriage as defined by Louisiana voters, and is yet another example of the federal government intrusion into what should be a state issue.”

In Lafayette, Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Jarrell issued a statement urging Catholics to not attend same-sex marriages.

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