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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.


Federal Court to Hear Challenge to Louisiana’s Gay Marriage Ban on Wednesday

Martin FeldmanNew Orleans-based U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman [pictured] is set to hear arguments Wednesday in the case challenging Louisiana’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

The Advocate reports:

Six Louisiana couples will argue that the Supreme Court’s decision means Louisiana must recognize their marriages from other states, just as the federal government now does.

A victory for those couples would not necessarily mean that same-sex couples could get a marriage license in Louisiana, but those married legally elsewhere could adopt children in Louisiana together, file joint tax returns and enjoy other benefits extended to opposite-sex couples. 

The Times Picayune adds:

LouisianaFeldman has received 23 amicus briefs from parties with interest on one side of the argument or the other. Among them is the city of New Orleans, which weighed in on the side of the same-sex couples by saying the city recognizes domestic partnerships and allows its employees to extend their municipal benefits to their partners.

"Indeed, as expressly set forth in the New Orleans Municipal Code, the city has an interest in strengthening and supporting all caring, committed and responsible family forms," city attorney Sharonda Williams wrote in the brief.


Tourist Captures Video of Louisiana Man Feeding Marshmallows to Alligators with His Mouth: WATCH

Gators

Local and state wildlife officials are investigating after a tourist from Oregon captured video of a man in a swamp in Lafitte, Louisiana frolicking with alligators and feeding marshmallows to them with his mouth.

Watch the insane video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tourist Captures Video of Louisiana Man Feeding Marshmallows to Alligators with His Mouth: WATCH" »


Transgender Woman Escapes Captivity After Two Horrific Years as a ‘Sex Slave’ in Louisiana

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 10.30.15 AM

A Louisiana trio has been arrested and charged with enslaving and torturing a Minnesota transgender woman for two years, New York Daily News reports:

An assistant town marshal said he found the woman on Saturday night near an intersection in Natchitoches Parish with a logging chain wrapped around her body.

The victim told cops she’d been held against her will and forced to perform sex acts and do hard labor for her captors, KATC reports. She was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated for multiple lacerations and bruises. The logging chain had to be removed by Natchitoches firefighters.

Natchitoches Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. said this was the most “severe and disturbing” human trafficking case he’d ever investigated.

Ambre-tubbsThe three suspects – David Rodriguez Jr. (above), Christina Marie Harper (above), and Ambre Tubbs Lomas (right) – turned themselves in on Wednesday and face multiple charges of human trafficking, aggravated second-degree battery, second-degree kidnapping/false imprisonment, and offenses against computer users. 

Investigators learned that the victim had met Rodriguez and Harper online. She agreed to move into the couple’s home and was promptly forced to hand over her cash and give up her motorcycle. She was then tattooed and registered as a slave on a website.

The victim says she was forced to do a daily list of chores that included sexual acts. In addition, she was required to serve meals, take care of pets, install a swimming pool, and remove fallen trees. If she didn’t comply, she says she was brutally disciplined by Rodriguez, Harper, or Lomas. She claims she was beaten, tased, doused with urine. She also said she had letters carved into her body.

When she told the couple she wanted out of the arrangement, she was allegedly chained in the woods, fed once a day, and given small amounts of water and urine to drink.

The woman is now in protective custody. Two teens who were also living in the home were taken into the custody of the state’s child protective services.


LA Governor Bobby Jindal To Award Anti-Gay 'Duck Dynasty' Star Phil Robertson

Yep

Remember Phil Robertson, the reality show star of A&E's Duck Dynasty who compared homosexuals to drunks and terrorists and called gays ”insolent, arrogant god haters”? Yeah, well, Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is going to give him an award for Entrepreneurial Excellence:

The governor has called the Robertson family, whose Duck Commander empire is based in West Monroe, La., “great citizens” of the state.

A&E says the Duck Dynasty season premiere on June 11 will feature an appearance by Jindal, who will present Willie Robertson — CEO of the family’s business — with an award.

In February, Jindal was at Duck Commander headquarters to present the first Governor’s Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence to the Robertson family. The award is aimed at honoring “homegrown Louisiana businesses that grow and provide more opportunity, more jobs and more commerce” for the state…

Sure, Robertson’s business, Duck Commander, reportedly has millions of dollars in annual sales, but the man also thinks black people were happier before civil rights and that it’s okay to marry 15-year-old girls.

Robertson’s other conservative supporters include Sarah Palin and anti-gay Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress.

(via Crooks and Liars)


Friday Speed Read: Louisiana, Maine, Texas, Jason Collins, Idaho, Mary Cheney, Health Benefits

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Stgermain‘I MIGHT HAVE THREE VOTES’:

Here’s how much support there is in the Louisiana House for barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity: “I might have three votes,” State Rep. Karen St. Germain told the Baton Rouge Advocate. Germain announced Tuesday she was withdrawing her bill to seek such protections.

MICHAUD SLIPS IN MAINE POLLS:

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud had a small lead over incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage at the top of April, but now, he appears to have fallen behind. The first poll, by a more liberal polling group, showed Michaud’s bid to unseat LePage supported by 44 percent of voters surveyed, compared to 37 percent for LePage, and 14 percent for independent candidate Eliot Cutler. But by mid-April, a survey conducted by a Portland-based firm found LePage at 38.6 percent to Michaud’s 37.2 percent, and Cutler at 20.3 percent.

TEXAS ‘CANNOT DISCRIMINATE’: Nellermoe

A state district court judge in San Antonio, Texas, ruled Tuesday that because the state grants a presumption of parenthood to the husband of a child’s birth mother, it must do the same for the same-sex spouse of a child’s birth mother. The ruling came in ALFL v. KLL, a divorce and custody proceeding involving a lesbian couple who married in Washington, D.C., in 2010, gave birth to a child using donor insemination in 2013, and is now seeking to divorce in their home state of Texas which bans recognition of same-sex marriages. Echoing U.S. v. Windsor and a recent federal court decision in San Antonio, as well as the “best interests of the child,” Judge Barbara Nellermoe wrote that the state “cannot discriminate against same-sex couples” and that the state’s ban against allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the child’s right to equal protection of the law. Two similar cases are currently awaiting a ruling from the state supreme court.

J_collinsNAMED TO PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL:

President Obama on Thursday named openly gay pro basketball player Jason Collins to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Collins entered the NBA in 2001 and played for a number of professional teams before coming out as gay last year. He currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets. The White House press release notes Collins is “a partner with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students.”

A FINAL BATTLEGROUND: Madelynn_taylor

A state cemetery for military veterans in Idaho recently refused a lesbian veteran’s request that her same-sex spouse, who died two years ago, be buried with her when she dies. Madelynn Taylor, 74, said she knows the two could be buried together in a federal cemetery for veterans but that she has close, long-held ties to Idaho, according to KTVB-TV. A spokesman for the Idaho Division of Veterans Services told the station their hands are tied by the Idaho ban on recognizing same-sex marriages.

CheneyCHENEY BACK IN ACTION:

Lesbian political strategist Mary Cheney is one of several Washington Republican operatives launching a new firm this week. The outfit, according to politico.com, will be called [Voice of the People] Vox Populi Polling (aka Pop Polling, according to the new firm’s website.

THIRTY-TWO PERCENT PROBLEM: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that, while 72 percent of all civilian workers get employer-sponsored health benefits for themselves and their spouses, only 32 percent of employees with same-sex domestic partners get benefits for their partners. The report was based on data collected a year ago.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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