LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — A district judge in Louisiana on Monday ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, putting him at odds with another district judge who decided just the opposite.
District Judge Edward Rubin presided over a case involving a lesbian couple who legally married in another state and sued the State of Louisiana so that they could adopt children.
Chastity Shenelle Brewer and Angela Marie Costanza were married legally in California and asked the judge to recognize their out-of-state marriage so that they could adopt in a regressive state with few laws that side with LGBT issues.
According to KLFY-TV, Rubin made three key points on why the law is illegal:
1. Violates the Due Process Clause of 14th Amendment.
2. Violates the Equal Protection Clause of 14th Amendment.
3. Violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Rubin’s decision contrasts against the startling ruling made by District Judge Martin Feldman, an ultra-conservative jurist who upheld the ban on gay marriage. Feldman’s decision, announced on Sept. 3, broke a long string of district and appeals court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage.
Marriage equality supporters have appealed Judge Feldman’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit.
[UPDATE] On Tuesday, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said it would appeal Judge Rubin’s ruling to the state Supreme Court, since it only applies to his district that includes the Lafayette, Acadia and Vermilion parishes.
This state, with its conflicting rulings, could help force the U.S. Supreme Court to take up gay marriage. The Feldman case is likely pending before the Fifth Circuit, where there is no guarantee that the conservative bench will side in favor of marriage equality.
The Texas case is also pending before the Fifth Circuit.
This is the situation that the U.S. Supreme Court may be waiting for.
Last week, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said during a speech in Minnesota said that the high court would likely step into the gay-marriage issue again if the current trend in legal decisions — so far all the appellate courts have sided with gay marriage supporters — becomes clouded by conflicting decisions.
So the Fifth Circuit could become the first appellate court to uphold the bans on gay marriage in Louisiana and Texas, putting those states at odds with 19 other states where same-sex weddings are legal.