In Surprise Announcement, Federal Judge Says He Wants to Expand Scope of Louisiana Gay Marriage Case

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73ddf9f93970d-200wiYesterday we reported that New Orleans-based U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman was set to hear arguments in a case challenging Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. The case brought before the court was particularly concerned with whether Louisiana should recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state. However, as The Advocate reports, Judge Feldman was not happy with the limited scope of the suit:

After hearing about an hour and half of oral arguments on the question before him, Feldman announced that he wants to decide on both issues involved in gay marriage lawsuits going on around the country; in other words, not just whether Louisiana must recognize legal marriages from elsewhere, but whether Louisiana must also allow same-sex couples to wed here.

“I feel uncomfortable resolving some issues one way or the other and not all issues one way or another,” Feldman said before calling lawyers for both sides into a private conference to sketch out a time line for additional briefs and oral arguments.

Now at stake in this case is whether Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage will stand or fall.


  1. craig says

    Or, in other words, “you both pretty much know how this is going to go down, so let’s just legalize the whole shebang right here and now, shall we?”

  2. John says

    The issues were listed in one of the lawsuits but were not brought to the forefront today by attorneys. Forum for Equality’s suit on behalf of four married couples also claimed a First Amendment violation since same-sex couples married in other states but residing in Louisiana must claim themselves as “single” on state tax returns, a violation of free speech.

    Other plaintiffs in suits that were consolidated with Forum’s sought the right to marry in Louisiana, despite the state’s constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex marriage. The judge said he would hear those arguments in the weeks to come

  3. pertx says

    To speculate, does anyone know this judge?

    So, from a quick review, what might we surmise?
    80 years old
    probable Jewish heritage
    adopted long-term New Orleanian
    Ronald Reagan appointee in the 80’s
    John Roberts 2010 appointee to the (controversial) FISA court

    So, it is likely that he is both very bright and (or) predictably conservative (in certain areas at least).

    While it is apparent that things are going in favor of marriage equality, this decision in Louisiana could be very important to lagging states, if it indeed turns out that this very prominent senior district judge with a strong Republican affiliation from a tolerant city in a conservative Southern state decides to knock down existing state statutes and to recognize same sex marriages both from within and without the state.

    Hoping for the best!

  4. Lucas H says

    I live in Louisiana, and as exciting as this news is considering the current tide of rulings on the issue, I can’t help but feel pessimistic about it. Our same state legislators voted to keep “sodomy” as against state law just earlier this year. I think it would take no less than a US Supreme Court decision to make it happen. People here are so conservative that it will make you doubt your faith in humanity. This is good news, but I won’t hold my breath :-/. Hopefully I can comment on another post months from now about how wrong I was!

  5. gr8guyca says

    What was a wave of positive court decisions is turning into a tsunami that will soon wash up on the steps of the Supreme Court. Why would a judge go out of his way to fight the tide of history?

  6. Joey in Louisiana says

    LUCAS H, You said a mouthful! I hope I too can be told how wrong I was in my perception of our state’s narrow-minded beliefs.

    But until that day, I won’t be holding my breath.

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