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LA Judge’s Marriage Ruling is Full of Mistakes


By Matt Baume

A massive victory for equality in Wisconsin and Indiana, with one of the most strongly-worded decisions yet. A judge in Louisiana has ruled against marriage equality, but there are some problems with his ruling. There are major oral arguments this week in multiple states, and more cases move closer to consideration by the US Supreme Court.

It’s no surprise that the Seventh Circuit has ruled strongly in favor of the freedom to marry in Wisconsin and Indiana. Just two weeks ago, a three-judge panel directed intense skepticism toward the attorneys defending the state bans. The court’s unanimous decision points out that preventing gay and lesbian couples from marrying is harmful to their children, and does nothing to encourage healthy heterosexual marriages. The court also ruled that tradition alone cannot justify a discriminatory law.

It’s unlikely that marriages will start any time soon in the Seventh Circuit. Indiana has requested a stay to prevent marriages while the state considers its options for a rehearing. They could ask the court to reconsider the case with a larger panel. Or they could petition the Supreme Court, a process that could take several weeks. So far, Utah, Oklahoma and Virginia are the only three states fully ready for the Supreme Court to consider for review.

But that could change over the next few months. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering cases in Nevada, Idaho and Hawaii, with oral argument on Monday of this week. Once the Ninth Circuit rules, parties could petition the US Supreme Court.

District Court Judge Martin Feldman has become the first federal judge to uphold a marriage ban since the Supreme Court overturned Windsor. That’s a setback, but the ruling is so riddled with strange conclusions and outright errors that Feldman could not have written a more reversible decision if he tried. In his ruling, Judge Feldman misstates the content of the Fourteenth Amendment, and inaccurately describes standards of review. The plaintiffs have already announced their intention to appeal.

Florida officials have appealed a federal decision that the state’s marriage ban is unconstitutional. They had previously attempted to put the litigation on hold, pending a decision from the US Supreme Court. A new survey in Florida shows support for the ban at 46% and opposition at 45%. And one of the plaintiffs in an Arizona case has passed away. His husband has amended his lawsuit against the state, requesting a death certificate that accurately reflects their California marriage.


  • 1. Waxr  |  September 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Off topic, but here is a story of a couple who got married at 95 and 96:

    Some of the children don't like it (there's money involved), but the judge is hesitant to break it up.

  • 2. Ragavendran  |  September 9, 2014 at 10:19 am

    "Indiana has requested a stay to prevent marriages while the state considers its options for a rehearing." Is there a link to this filing? I couldn't find it on PACER.

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