SCOTUS rulings on same-sex marriage have no effect on Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Neither of the rulings handed down by the US Supreme Court related to same-sex marriage affects Louisiana.

The high court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The ruling only affects the 12 states where gay marriage is or will soon become legal. Those are: New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Iowa, Washington and Minnesota, as well as Washington, DC.

If Louisiana were to ever legalize same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples would have to get the federal benefits outlined in the DOMA case.

Justices also said they basically have no jurisdiction in California's Prop 8 case, meaning they chose not to issue a broad ruling that would affect every state in the country. Gay marriages will resume in California, but the ruling only affects California.

Louisiana's Defense of Marriage constitutional amendment was approved by 78 percent of state voters on Sept. 18, 2004. It defines marriage as only between a man and a woman and also outlaws civil unions. It was challenged in the courts but upheld by the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2005.

In a statement Governor Bobby Jindal affirmed that nothing will change in Louisiana, "I believe every child deserves a mom and a dad. This opinion leaves the matter of marriage to the states where people can decide. In Louisiana, we will opt for traditional marriage."

It started as HB 61 (duplicate SB 166) and was pre-filed by Rep. Steve Scalise ahead of the 2004 regular session. It ended up as joint resolution of both the Louisiana House and Senate and became Act No. 926. Lawmakers voted to send it to a public vote and it was approved on Sept. 18.

Louisiana Citizens for Defense of Marriage and Louisiana Family Forum were the major supporters of the bill. The Forum for Equality and Log Cabin Republicans of Louisiana were major opponents.

"Section 15: Marriage in the state of Louisiana shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman. No official or court of the state of Louisiana shall construe this constitution or any state law to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any member of a union other than the union of one man and one woman. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized. No official or court of the state of Louisiana shall recognize any marriage contracted in any other jurisdiction which is not the union of one man and one woman."


A February 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 29 percent of Louisiana voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 59 percent thought it should be illegal and 12 percent were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 54 percent of respondents supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 25 percent supporting same-sex marriage, 29 percent supporting civil unions, 41 percent opposing all legal recognition and 5 percent not sure.

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