News (USA)

Federal judge who upheld Louisiana same-sex marriage ban rescinds order

Federal judge who upheld Louisiana same-sex marriage ban rescinds order
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman

A federal judge in Louisiana, who last year became the first to uphold a state’s same-sex marriage ban after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, has “recalled and rescinded” his ruling.

U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman’s decision Thursday complied with an order issued Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversing his September 2014 ruling.

“After the Supreme Court decision Friday, it was a foregone conclusion that the Fifth Circuit would reverse Judge Feldman,” said Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Kenneth D. Upton. “We were thrilled that the Fifth Circuit moved so quickly to do so, and that should have been that. There never was, and certainly no longer remains, any legal or moral justification for forcing same-sex couples in Louisiana to wait any longer to have their love and commitment recognized by the state.”

On Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal delayed — for the second time — the recognition of same-sex marriages by state agencies.

Jindal refused to allow Louisiana agencies acknowledge same-sex marriages following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last Friday. At the time, he said he was waiting for a lower appeals court to affirm the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, before moving forward with same-sex marriage recognition in Louisiana.

But after the 5th Circuit affirmed on Wednesday that Louisiana’s same-sex marriage ban has been overturned, Jindal said same-sex couples need to wait for the district court’s decision.

“With this order, Governor Jindal has run out of excuses for delaying recognition of same-sex couples’ right to get married and have their marriages recognized,” said Upton, in a statement Thursday. “Enough is enough.”

“Once again, we call on Governor Jindal to keep his promise and order state agencies to comply fully with their obligations,” Upton continued. “Governor Jindal, keep your word.”

Marriage equality advocates have chastised the Jindal for refusing to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling from last week. They described Jindal’s behavior as dragging his feet on the issue.

Feldman’s order is here

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The order Wednesday from the 5th Circuit cleared one of the final procedural roadblocks in the three cases from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, which had been pending before the New Orleans-based court. The court had heard arguments in the appeals, but hadn’t ruled.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves in Jackson quickly issued a final order overturning Mississippi’s constitutional and legal bans on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio had lifted the stay blocking his injunction last week.

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