Louisiana Hub

LSU Fraternity Apologizes for Michael Sam Gay Sex Joke Banner: VIDEO


A fraternity at Louisiana State University has apologized for flying a game-day banner outside its house last weekend that read “Michael isn’t the only Sam getting the D tonight.” The school was playing Sam Houston State University at the time.

The Times-Picayune reports:

The Delta Kappa Epsilon's Zeta Zeta chapter displayed the message, which some deemed offensive, on what appeared to be a bed sheet secured over the entrance of the fraternity house Saturday (Sept. 6). The apology letter says the chapter will stop hanging signs in front of the DKE house "indefinitely."

"Zeta Zeta is a chapter full of rich traditions, one of them being our game day banners," the fraternity wrote.

"Though satire is sometimes the goal, crossing the line and causing offense to others is never the intent," the letter from the DKEs, addressed to LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander, said. "We truly apologize to you and all other members of the LSU community who have had to deal with the effects of this banner."

LSU, which asked the banner be taken down, said it did not condone the fraternity’s “hurtful actions” and the school’s Dean of Students K.C. White plans on meeting with interested parties to further discuss the incident.

Unfortunately, this is only the latest in a long line of offensive banners that the fraternity has flown in past years. You can check out an LSU Tiger TV report on the current controversy and previous frat banners, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Appeals Notices Filed in Federal Ruling Upholding Louisiana's Gay Marriage Ban

LouisianaLate last week, Forum for Equality Louisiana and several gay couples filed their notices of appeal in Louisiana Federal Judge Martin Feldman's ruling earlier this month upholding the state's ban on marriage equality. 

Notably, Judge Feldman's bizarre, hateful opinion was the first (and so far only) federal loss for equality in this post-DOMA court landscape. The appeal now goes to the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a Texas gay-marriage case is also pending. 

The Shreveport Times reports that Michael Johnson, the attorney who defended Louisiana's ban, said an appeal of the ruling was to be expected

"We're prepared already to handle that," Johnson said. "We have a very good chance of prevailing in the 5th Circuit."

A win at that level would be even more significant than Wednesday's ruling, Johnson said, because it would indicate a split in appellate rulings, which is often a precursor to a case coming before the Supreme Court.

This case, Robicheaux v. Caldwell, could be the case that finally forces the Supreme Court to rule once and for all, he said. 

Happening Now: New Orleans Rally Against Decision Upholding Louisiana's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

LaAs we reported earlier, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman became the first judge since United States v. Windsor to uphold a state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. ABC News now reports that Forum for Equality, the ALCU, the Human Rights Campaign, the LGBT Community Center and PFLAG New Orleans are encouraging people in New Orleans to protest Judge Feldman's decision tonight in Jackson Square, located in New Orleans' historic French Quarter. 

From Forum For Equality:

The ruling today upheld the unconstitutional ban on recognizing loving and committed same-sex couples. Forum for Equality and the courageous couples who have lead this battle will not stop! We will take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court! We will not let one decision turn back the tide of victories because we stand on the right side of history. Rally with Forum for Equality, ALCU, HRC, LGBTCC and PFLAG today to show Louisiana that we are committed to standing for love and fairness for all.

The event is happening now at the Pedestrian Mall, Jackson Square New Orleans, LA 70130 (In front of St. Louis Cathedral).

Federal Judge Gets It Wrong, Upholds Marriage Discrimination in Louisiana in Strange, Hateful Opinion


FeldmanLouisiana Federal Judge Martin Feldman, a Reagan appointee, has upheld Louisiana's ban on marriage equality in a haphazard opinion remarkable only for its outdated language and subtly hateful rhetoric. Falling into traps we teach law students to avoid, Judge Feldman finds marriage equality as suspect as fathers marrying their daughters and improperly narrows the scope of the case to seeking a "right to same-sex marriage" rather than just "marriage." He suggests that being gay is a "lifestyle choice" and states that such a "choice" is butting heads with the democratic process, something he seems to think is infallible and beyond reproach.

Judge Feldman gets it wrong. The fight for marriage equality is a fight for marriage, not anything special or different than what opposite-sex couples enjoy. Being gay is not a choice and loving someone of the same sex is not a "lifestyle choice": it is love, it is human nature. And permitting gays to marry does not open the door to incestuous marriages, bestial marriages, or polyamorous unions. That kind of slippery slope argument doesn't pass the laugh test. Countless jurisdictions have made the decision to allow gays to marry, a legal policy decision that has no negative health or cohesion effects on society, without improperly permitting marriages that could be damaging to those involved and to children.

Judge Feldman is not the first judge to uphold a ban. He is not even the first to uphold a ban in the post-Windsor era. He is, however, the first federal judge to uphold the constitutionality of a state ban on marriage equality since Windsor, which complicates marriage's journey through the federal courts. The decision today does not necessarily mean the Supreme Court will have to take one or several marriage equality cases; Judge Feldman could still be overturned by the Fifth Circuit. But it does have several effects:

(1) it makes a circuit split, a key reason the Supreme Court takes cases, more likely;

(2) it provides some measure of legitimacy to anti-equality forces by giving them a victory and resurrecting their outdated and hateful language; and

(3) it denies very real rights to very real families struggling in Louisiana.

I break down some of the more distasteful elements of the decision and provide some context, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Federal Judge Declares Louisiana Gay Marriage Ban Constitutional; is First to Uphold Ban Since DOMA Ruling


U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman today broke with every federal judge who has ruled on marriage since the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling and declared Louisiana's ban on gay marriage constitutional.

The AP reports: Feldman

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's ruling broke a string of 20-plus court wins for supporters of same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. Feldman said gay marriage supporters failed to prove that the ban violates equal protection or due process provisions of the Constitution. He also rejected an argument that the ban violated the First Amendment by effectively forcing legally married gay couples to state that they are single on Louisiana income tax returns.

Furthermore, states have the right to define the institution of marriage, Feldman wrote.

Adds Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner:

Feldman, appointed to the bench in 1983 by President Reagan, noted his departure from other judges, writing, “It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue, if this Court were confident in the belief that those cases provide a correct guide.”

Feldman also says that Louisiana has a "legitimate" interest in seeing children in one man-one woman families and frames it as a battle of democratic process vs. "lifestyle choices", says same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right, expresses concern about other marriage bans, calls the application of 'heightened scrutiny" to sexual orientation a form of "intellectual anarchy" and concludes there is a rational basis for the ban, notes Geidner.

We'll have analysis from our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman coming up shortly...

From the order:

"This national same-sex marriage struggle animates a clash between convictions regarding the value of state decisions reached by way of the democratic process as contrasted with personal, genuine, and sincere lifestyle choices recognition."

Read the order below:

2:13-cv-05090 #131 by Equality Case Files

Richard Land: LGBT Non-Discrimination Measures 'Suppress The Freedom Of Speech' - LISTEN

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 7.51.36 AMDiscussing the defeat of an LGBT non-discrimination measure in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, homophobes Richard Land and Gene Mills have claimed that such ordinances “suppress the freedom of speech,” reports Right Wing Watch. Mills also suggested that any "discrimination" members of the LGBT community might feel from society is really just the inner "shame and guilt" surrounding their "ultimate rebellion against God."

By a vote of 4-8, Baton Rouge last week voted down an ordinance that would have prohibited discrimination in the parish, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, approximately 200 cities currently have non-discrimination ordinances in place.

Filling in for Tony Perkins last week on hate group Family Research Council broadcast Washington Watch, former Southern Baptist Convention official Land said:

“Homosexuality and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community, that is the ultimate rebellion against God. We don’t want them to take away from us the right to say that, to say that’s a rebellion against God.”

Louisiana Family Forum member Mills replied:

“And that’s exactly what they were doing, they were going to use a cause of action against us to silence — and that is what is happening in ‘everywhere USA’ — religious liberty is under assault…. Any expression, any thought, anything you just shared, could have been construed as a hate crime or an act of discrimination, and the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”

Referring to President Obama’s executive order providing protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors, Land last month said that conservatives need to stand up to “the gay thought police” or face Nazi-style persecution.

Listen to the Washington Watch broadcast, AFTER THE JUMP...

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