Gay marriage [a.k.a. same-sex marriage (SSM)] in Louisiana
Part 5: 2015-JUN-26 and later:
The U.S. Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage
throughout the U.S. The Jindal administration
strongly resists legalizing it in Louisiana.
2015-JUN-26: In an unrelated case, U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the entire country.
On the morning of JUN-26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. This is a consolidated case involving gay marriage lawsuits from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee. In each case, U.S. District Courts had legalized gay marriages in the state. However, when the cases were consolidated and appealed to the 6th U.S. Circuit of Appeals, a three-judge panel of the latter court overturned the lower court rulings by a vote of 2 to 1.
That decision created a "circuit split" in which the 6th Circuit Court upheld bans on gay marriages even though the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuit Courts had previously found similar bans in other states to be unconstitutional.
In order to harmonize laws across the country, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the appeal of the consolidated case, held hearings on 2015-APR-28, and issued its ruling on JUN-26. They legalized SSM across the entire country, including all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia. This decision requires each of these 56 jurisdictions to marry qualified same-sex couples and to recognize legal gay marriages solemnized out-of-state.
The ruling will not be effective for at least 25 days until JUL-21. This is because the High Court generally gives the losing side time to issue a request that the Court reconsider their ruling. Whether any of the defendants from the four states decides to exercise their right to do this is unknown. However, with widespread animus against the LGBT community and opposition to gay marriage in these four states, it is quite possible that at least one defendant will ask for a review.
This ruling had little or no effect on the status of gay marriages in 37 states, the District of Columbia, and the Territory of Guam where marriage equality has already been attained. It will have a major effect in Louisiana, the other 12 states that ban gay marriage and the state of Missouri which only permits gay marriages in the City of St. Louis and two counties.
2015-JUN-26: Three same-sex couples were refused marriage licence's in New Orleans:
Three couples went to the state Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) office which issues marriage licenses in the city of New Orleans. [In the rest of Louisiana, licenses are issued by clerks of court.] After a delay, the couples were sent away by the DHH without their licenses. Olivia Watkins, the DHH communications director said that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling is not yet in effect. She said:
"Right now the Louisiana Constitution still is applicable … the mandate is not in place yet."
The High Court traditionally gives the losing side in a case a few weeks to file a request that the Court reassess their ruling.
2015-JUN-26: Governor Bobby Jindall (R) attacked Court decision:
On 2015-JUN-26, very soon after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, Governor Bobby Jindall (R) attacked it. He issued a statement saying:
"The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states' rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.
This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.
The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America's long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.
I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me." 1
He also said:
"The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body. If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court." 2
Webmaster's note: [Bias alert]
His comment about the High Court becoming a public opinion polling agency is interesting because very few individuals or groups who oppose marriage equality will admit that most U.S. adults support gay marriage.
Governor Jindal's comment is very similar to the arguments used to support a ban on interracial marriage prior to 1967. Many religious conservatives at the time believed that God caused the descendents of Adam and Eve to spread across the Earth and develop into different races in various areas of the world. They argued that God intended that the races must remain separate. They asserted that interracial marriage was forbidden by God. Paraphrasing Governor Jindal's comment, many religious conservatives would have agreed that:
"Marriage by a man and a woman of the same race was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that."
But a very earthly court did. Now, almost half a century later, about 90% of U.S. adults agree that interracial couples should be able to marry.
The High Court in 1967 ruled in the case Loving v. Virginia that legalized interracial marriages across the country. That ruling was also based on the guarantee of equal treatment for all Americans that is found in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The governor's comment would make a lot of sense if the United States were a theocracy like Iran. But U.S. laws are not determined by conservative Christians. Rather, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that a "wall of separation" be maintained between religion and state.
Many sincere, intelligent, thoughtful, devout, liberal Christians believe that the Bible is silent on same-sex marriage. They have analyzed the six "clobber passages" that are often interpreted by religious conservatives to condemn same-gender sexual behavior. They have found that the passages do not condemn the LGBT community.
The religious freedom to which Governor Jindal is referring, does not involve religious beliefs, speech, assembly, proselytizing, etc. They are guaranteed by the First Amendment. Governor Jindall is referring to the religious freedom to discriminate, oppress, and denigrate others; such behavior is condemned in statements attributed to Jesus in two Gospels which form the basis of the Golden Rule.
2015-JUN-26: A spokesperson in the Governor's office comments on marriage equality:
Mike Reed said:
"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." 3
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Julia O'Donoghue, "Bobby Jindal condemns Supreme Court's gay marriage decision," The Times-Picaynne, 2015-JUN-26, at: http://www.nola.com/
- Mark Hensch, "Jindal: 'Let's just get rid of the court'," The Hill, 2015-JUN-26, at: http://thehill.com/
- Julia O'Donoghue, "Bobby Jindal administration says Louisiana won't recognize gay marriage yet," The Times-Picaynne, 2015-JUN-26, at: http://www.nola.com/
- "Couples in Louisiana same-sex marriage case ask appeals court to act, reverse Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage," The Advocate, 2015-JUN-28, at: http://theadvocate.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on
Originally published: 2015-JUL-02
Last updated 2015-JUN-02
Author: Bruce A Robinson