“It’s over,” attorney Roberta Kaplan told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Kaplan, who represented plaintiffs in a Mississippi same-sex marriage case, made the declaration after the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered district judges in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to quickly resolve the cases in accordance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last week.
People seeking legalization of same-sex marriage had won cases at the district level in Mississippi and Texas but lost in Louisiana. Public officials in all three states had opposed any change, but had conceded in letters to the court in recent days that the proper course was to conclude the cases with final orders from the district judges legalizing same-sex marriage. The 5th Circuit dissolved its stay blocking lower court orders in Mississippi and Texas.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves in Jackson quickly issued a final order overturning Mississippi’s constitutional and legal bans on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia in San Antonio had lifted the stay blocking his injunction last week.
The court told U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana that he should act especially quickly, because one of the plaintiffs there, Robert Welles, is in declining health. However, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement saying state agencies will wait for Feldman’s ruling. From The Times-Picayune:
“Our agencies will follow the Louisiana Constitution until the District Court orders us otherwise,” the governor’s statement read.
The order says Feldman could act sooner, noting that one of the plaintiffs in the case, Robert Welles, is in declining health and has been unable to get a marriage license in his home parish in New Orleans.
As of Wednesday afternoon, same-sex couples can get a marriage license in any parish in the state, though residents in Orleans Parish will have to travel to the 2nd City Court in Algiers because the state office that issues licenses in downtown New Orleans has turned away couples.
The 5th Circuit panel also included in its orders a lengthy passage from Obergefell about protecting the religious liberties of those who oppose same-sex marriage:
“We express no view on how controversies involving the intersection of these rights should be resolved,” Smith wrote. “But instead leave that to the robust operation of our system of laws and the good faith of those who are impacted by them.”
Read the 5th Circuit’s order in the Texas case below.