same-sex marriage

Marriage in Louisiana: What Just Happened

Jul 3, 2015

No matter what your perspective on marriage it has been a remarkable week.

It's certainly been a whirlwind for Kenneth Upton. He's a lawyer for Lambda Legal and lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the Robicheaux case that challenged Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. A final ruling in that case has been issued in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision that same-sex couples can marry.

Eileen Fleming / WWNO

  Louisiana is issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Two New Orleans men have already exchanged vows today.

Earl Benjamin applies for a marriage license at the  Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court's office.
Mallory Falk / WWNO

Celeste Autin and Alesia LeBoeuf quietly made history Monday morning as the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage certificate in Louisiana. The license was issued in Jefferson Parish. As word got out, a frenzy of media waiting in downtown New Orleans headed across the river in search of other same-sex couples hoping to marry.

Louisiana keeps pounding its fists against what Thomas Jefferson called the “wall of separation of church and state”. For example, Louisiana is not complying with the marriage decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges.

“Marriage, as an institution between a man and a woman, was established by God. It cannot be altered by an earthly court,” Governor Bobby Jindal told the press, during a campaign stop in Iowa Friday.

This week, in the Obergefell case, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the 14th amendment— the one with the equal protection clause — requires states to license marriages between people of the same sex or if requires states to recognize same-sex marriages conferred by another state.  

To that question, Louisiana says no in a friend-of-the-court brief that 15 states signed on to.

Kyle Duncan is the counsel of record on that brief, and is defending Louisiana's constitutional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in other cases. In one case, the state has sued the Dept. of Labor over a change to the Family and Medical Leave Act that would extend benefits to same-sex spouses.


The U.S. Supreme Court won't step ahead of a federal appeals panel in New Orleans to hear an appeal over Louisiana's same-sex marriage.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal heard the case Friday.

But, in an unusual move, both supporters of same-sex marriage and the state had already asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case before the appeal is decided.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Arguments were heard in New Orleans challenging Louisiana’s Defense of Marriage Act, which denies marriage to same sex couples. 

Louisiana was one of three Defense of Marriage Act cases heard by the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to Louisiana, cases for Mississippi and Texas were also heard by the three-judge panel.

Ken Upton is the Senior Counsel for Lambda Legal. That organization is representing a group of seven Louisiana same sex couples who are appealing a recent federal judge’s decision to uphold the state ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to take up Robicheaux v. George -- the case challenging Louisiana’s ban on the marriage of same-sex couples. It may be the case that decides the issue once and for all for the entire nation.

Louisiana Gay Marriage Ban Heading To US Supreme Court

Nov 21, 2014

Gay-rights advocates are challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban.

They’re asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.

In September, a federal judge in New Orleans upheld Louisiana's ban.

An appeal of that ruling is tentatively set to be argued in January at the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

However, lawyers for gay rights groups said yesterday they have asked the Supreme Court to take the rare step of reviewing Louisiana's case ahead of those arguments.

State Appealing Court Ruling Against Gay Marriage Ban

Sep 23, 2014

The state is appealing a Lafayette judge’s ruling that Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

It was Judge Edward Rubin's second ruling that Angela Costanza of Broussard may adopt partner Chasity Brewer's son, and be listed as a parent on his birth certificate.

The two married in California, and the suit says it should be recognized.

Rubin's ruling in February was overturned by a state appellate court.

Lafayette attorney Joshua Guillory tells The Advocate he believes it's the first time a state judge has found the law unconstitutional.