Louisiana judge upholds marriage ban

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A federal judge in Louisiana this week became the first to uphold a state ban on same-sex marriage since last summer’s dismantling of the federal marriage-equality ban.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman on Wednesday ruled that the state’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to between one man and one woman could stand. Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June 2013 that the federal law excluding same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional, state laws have been ruled unconstitutional by more than 20 federal judges. According to Freedom to Marry, there have been 38 pro-marriage equality rulings since last summer, with Feldman’s being only the second loss in that time. ‘

“We’ve won nearly all of the 40 state and federal marriage cases this year,” said Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson. “Today’s Louisiana loss is a reminder that we’re not done. The loss is why couples should not have to fight state by state, case by case, year by year. It’s time for the Supreme Court to rule nationwide.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow.

“Today a federal district court put up a roadblock on a path constructed by 21 federal court rulings over the last year — a path that inevitably leads to nationwide marriage equality,” she said. “Ultimately the nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States will be asked to decide whether committed and loving gay and lesbian couples should be denied an institution that they, themselves, have deemed a constitutional right more than a dozen times. We firmly believe that justice will ultimately be done.”

The U.S. Supreme Court, set to go back into session Sept. 29, has a number of pending marriage-equality requests before it. While last summer’s seminal SCOTUS ruling paved the way for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, it did not answer the question of whether same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry. Many pundits expect court to take up one of the cases and issue a broader ruling by next summer.