September 12, 2014

​Federal Judge Rules Traditional Marriage

©2014 Baptist News

Traditional marriage gained a win in a
federal court Sept. 3 after a string of losses at the federal level.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans ruled that Louisiana's ban on
same-sex marriage can stand. The ruling is the first time a ban in a state on
same-sex marriages has been upheld by a federal judge since the Supreme Court
struck down key elements of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.

"The Court finds that Louisiana's definition of marriage as between one
man and one woman and the limitation on recognition of same-sex marriages
permitted by law in other states found in Article XII, Section 15 of the
Louisiana Constitution and article 3520(B) of the Louisiana Civil Code do not
infringe the guarantees of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the
United States Constitution," Feldman wrote in his summary judgment.

"The record reveals no material dispute: the defendants have shown that
Louisiana's decision to neither permit nor recognize same-sex marriage, formed
in the arena of the democratic process, is supported by a rational basis,"
Feldman wrote. "The Court further finds that plaintiffs have failed to
establish a genuine dispute regarding a First Amendment violation on this

In June, Shreveport attorney Mike Johnson and his legal team presented oral
arguments in the federal court on behalf of the state explaining why
Louisiana's Defense of Marriage Amendment should be upheld.

Johnson, a member of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., who operates a
legal ministry called Freedom Guard, successfully defended the amendment a
decade ago against its original challenge at the state Supreme Court.

The day after Feldman's ruling, traditional marriage faced two more losses when
the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned same-sex
marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. Courts have ruled in favor of same-sex
marriage more than three dozen times in the last 14 months. At the state level,
the reasoning used by a circuit judge in Tennessee was hailed by traditional
marriage proponents in an Aug. 5 ruling for the state's marriage statute.

In a 2004 Louisiana ballot, 78 percent of voters approved Louisiana's Defense
of Marriage Constitutional Amendment. Louisiana is one of 31 states that has
chosen not to recognize same-sex marriage.

"The decision today is precisely correct," Johnson said after Feldman's
ruling. "The court has merely affirmed that it is the people of each state
who have the authority to define and regulate marriage within their borders,
rather than a handful of unelected federal judges. 

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