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Louisiana same-sex couples to argue in favor of amending marriage equality lawsuit

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Last week, we reported that the federal challenge to Louisiana’s anti-gay marriage laws has been dismissed by a judge because the plaintiffs haven’t attempted to get married and because the suit was not filed against the correct defendant.

As promised, the plaintiffs are now asking the court to reconsider its decision; they are also asking for the opportunity to amend their complaint to add a different defendant: Tim Barfield, the Secretary of the state Department of Revenue.

That second request will be argued in front of the judge on January 15 of next year. The argument will take place via telephone conference.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings


  • 1. Eric Koszyk  |  December 6, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    "A Colorado judge today determined that the Masterpiece CakeShop unlawfully discriminated against the couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake"

  • 2. Eric Koszyk  |  December 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I love that the judge uses Scalia's majority opinion in an anti-abortion case to rule that discrimination against same sex weddings is the equivalent of discrimination due to sexual orientation:

    "That, however, is not the case here. In this case, Respondents’ objection to same-sex marriage is inextricably tied to the sexual orientation of the parties involved, and therefore disfavor of the parties’ sexual orientation may be presumed. Justice Scalia, the author of the majority opinion in Bray, recognized that “some activities may be such an irrational object of disfavor that, if they are targeted, and if they also happen to be engaged in exclusively or predominantly by a particular class of people, an intent to disfavor that class can readily be presumed. A tax on wearing yarmulkes is a tax on Jews.” Id. at 270. Similarly, the ALJ concludes that discrimination against same-sex weddings is the equivalent of discrimination due to sexual orientation."

  • 3. Fluffyskunk  |  December 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I don't see how they have a case if they haven't gone to the courthouse to get a marriage license and been denied it. That's what Perry and Stier, and Katami and Zarrillo had to do in order to have a case against the state.

  • 4. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    The suit is not about Marriage Equality, but against the bakery refusing to bake a cake.

  • 5. Eric Koszyk  |  December 7, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Fluffyskunk is talking about the actual topic of this post, the court case in LA.

    Sorry I hijacked the post, I just thought that the CO court case was interesting and I'm not sure how to put up a "Quick Hit" post.

  • 6. Paul S  |  December 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I don't think it's nescessary. There is a law against marriage equality in LA. It's reasonable to assume they will be denied if they applied, and even if they weren't denied, there would be questions about the validity of any marriage license that they might be issued.

  • 7. Fluffyskunk  |  December 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    My point is from the court's perspective, they can't just sue to overturn the law because they don't like it. They haven't suffered actual harm until they've attempted to marry in the state. It is a technicality, but it's a technicality that makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it. 🙂

  • 8. davep  |  December 6, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    …. just a reminder that same sex marriages began several hours ago in Austrailia. Although we'll find out what their initial court ruling about this is on Thursday, and the marriages that happen between now and then may be ruled invalid. At least at first…. I get the feeling this one may go back and forth for quite a bit before it finally gets resolved and we have achieved civil marriage rights in Australia, similar to the whole Prop 8 fiasco.

  • 9. Craig Nelson  |  December 6, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Yes. Though the hearing here is of the highest court, which, if it vetoes the ACT marriages, will put a block on things for a while, with progress only coming from the federal Parliament, which will take a while.

  • 10. Stefan  |  December 7, 2013 at 5:38 am

    It actually could be a good thing though. If the court defers it to the federal government, it will put even more pressure on them to pass it, thus likely resulting in forcing Abbot to allow a conscious vote among his ruling party.

  • 11. Stefan  |  December 7, 2013 at 4:56 am

    I expect the high court to uphold the ACT marriage law. The court has a liberal (Labor) majority and plenty of pressure from commonwealth nations. After this happens many Australian states which were otherwise hesitant to pass equality will move forward (similar to here in the US after the Windsor ruling).

  • 12. davep  |  December 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    That's sounds more encouraging than I had been hearing elsewhere, I hope you're right. Any idea what argument the pro-SSM side will be relying on? I don't know much about Australian law, but 'm not seeing a whole lot of options for how they can argue around the existing Commonwealth Marriage Act. Of course that law serves no useful purpose and is discriminatory, but this trial wouldn't be directly challenging that law, would it? Wouldn't this trial be just a question of 'does the ACT pro-SSM law comply with or violate the Marriage Act?'.

  • 13. Stefan  |  December 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    The ACT law is essentially separate from the other marriage laws as it creates an identical institution (in name and everything), and does not add on to/violate the Marriage Act. It's a legal loophole but will likely still stand up in court.

  • 14. davep  |  December 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    That sounds pretty good. Any insight into how same sex civil marriages in the ACT will or won't be treated when a couple from somewhere else in Australia goes there, gets married, and returns home? For example, if there is any clause in the Commonwealth Marriage Act that says all territories must recognize the marriages of all the other territories, that seems like it would set up a direct conflict with the portion of the Commonwealth Marriage Act that denies recognition of same sex marriage now that couples can get legally married in the ACT, right?

  • 15. Fluffyskunk  |  December 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    It's a separate status called "same-sex marriage" which is not a subset of "marriage", so I would assume it won't be recognized anywhere. Think of it as a civil union with a more polite name. 🙁

  • 16. Stefan  |  December 8, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Many countries already don't recognize marriages from other countries, so it's not really a big deal.

  • 17. Two Dads  |  December 6, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Can anyone kindly throw out a prediction on when you imagine we'll hear something out of New Mexico?

  • 18. Stefan  |  December 7, 2013 at 4:48 am

    It was 6 weeks between the summary judgment trial in New Jersey and the ruling being handed down, and it's been about exactly that long so far since the NM hearing. I'm guessing they will issue a ruling by year's end, so literally any day now.

  • 19. Zack12  |  December 7, 2013 at 5:57 am

    I'm thinking they'll rule in our favor but no one knows until they hand it down.
    One thing I know for sure,even if they are opposed to gay marriage,Democrats in the House and Senate in NM are NOT going to put an issue on the ballot they know will appeal to Republicans,who turn out higher in midterms then not.

  • 20. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  December 7, 2013 at 8:00 am

    […] USA, Louisiana: The plaintiffs in the marriage equality lawsuit want to amend the suit to add a different defendant. full story […]

  • 21. Dr. Z  |  December 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I would like to offer a special mazel tov to the ACT couples getting married in the face of such political uncertainty. My husband and I have been there. We learned that there was an opportunity for us to get married on the evening of March 2 2004, and we were in line to marry the next morning. So concerned were we about judicial intervention to shut the whole thing down at any moment that we conducted our (first) marriage ceremony in an elevator lobby, and smashed a plastic cup as our "glass." We thought the courts would stop us at any momemt.

    No doubt you are apprehensive that the news media and the rulers-of-the-moment have lined up agsinst you, proclaiming in advance that your unions are doomed to be short lived. Never forget this: YOU ARE MARRIED. If it takes the straight Establishment a bit longer to acknowledge that reality, then too bad for them.

    Good luck, and congratulations! And never lose faith in each other, and the fact that WE ARE WINNING, and WE ARE GOING TO WIN. All around the world.

  • 22. davep  |  December 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Very well said, Dr. Z! I remember those days here in California too when friends of mine had their marriages 'un-recognized' at first, before the whole Prop 8 fiasco, and thinking that, although they married primarily just because they wanted to very much, they also did it knowing what could (and did) happen, and being so grateful for their bravery and willingness to go ahead and take that stand. It took guts. Progress is often two steps forward, one step back, and we all owe a great deal of thanks to the people who are willing to put themselves in that position of facing the effects of the 'one step back' until we move forward again.

  • 23. JayJonson  |  December 9, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Back to the Louisiana case: this is a case filed by an inept lawyer who does not know what he is doing. Why don't these people consult and coordinate with national groups like Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU, Feedom to Marry, GLAD, or AFER rather than filing suits willy-nilly. I wish one of the national groups would take over this case in Louisiana. The risk is high that in amateurish hands, this case will cost us a great deal by establishing bad precedent as well as simply give our opponents victories.

  • 24. Alan948  |  December 9, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I agree that the lawyering in this case is abysmal. (The argument in this motion about a pre-statehood federal statute having anything to do with the court's straightforward 11th amendment ruling is ridiculous. The motion also gives no reason at all for why the plaintiffs failed to present this argument the first time. A proper basis for reconsideration would be if some pertinent new law had been passed since the original briefing deadline, but you don't get a do-over because you just noticed a law that was passed in 1811.)

    However, I do not share your wish that one of the national groups would take over this case, and I'm sure they won't, because they're busy pursuing the right cases in the right places at the right times.

    I also don't think the risk is that high, in that so far these guys have failed even to present enough of a case for any ruling to reach the merits.

  • 25. JayJonson  |  December 10, 2013 at 7:23 am

    My suggestion that one of the national groups would take over the case wasn't that they would necessarily proceed with it, just that they would put it in the context of a national strategy and then decide whether Louisiana is the right place at this time to proceed. In any event, I was happy to read that this was dismissed when it was. We need good lawyers making good decisions or we will wind up with rulings that will set back to quest for equal rights.

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