- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A federal judge in Louisiana has broken the streak of favorable gay marriage rulings by upholding the state’s voter-passed amendment that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

“The [state] defendants in this passionately charged national issue have the more persuasive argument,” U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman said in a 32-page ruling, issued Wednesday in Robicheaux v. Caldwell.

The state “has a legitimate interest under a rational basis standard of review for addressing the meaning of marriage through the democratic process,” he said.

Gay marriage supporters protested the ruling Wednesday in New Orleans.

It’s sad that a federal judge would “put up a roadblock” to gay marriage, but “justice will ultimately be done,” said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign.

The Supreme Court has already upheld marriage as a fundamental and constitutional right more than a dozen times, and 21 federal courts have ruled in favor of gay marriage in the past year, she noted.

“We’ve won nearly all of the 40 state and federal marriage cases this year. Today’s Louisiana loss is a reminder that we’re not done,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. Gay couples “should not have to fight state by state, case by case, year by year.”

Gene Mills, president of Louisiana Family Forum, praised Judge Feldman’s opinion, saying it “confirms that the people of Louisiana — not the federal courts — have the constitutional right to decide how marriage is defined in this state.”

The ruling “is a victory for children, each of whom need and desire a mom and dad,” as well as for religious liberty and free speech, said Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council and a former Louisiana lawmaker.

The ruling undercuts the “myth” that the Supreme Court will inevitably redefine marriage for all states, said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. “We believe [the Supreme Court] will leave this issue with the states.”

Judge Feldman’s court is the first to uphold a state marriage law since the Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 to strike down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbade the federal government from recognizing legal gay marriages, in part on federalism grounds.

Judge Feldman noted that if he had joined all the other courts that have struck down state marriage laws, it “would no doubt be celebrated.”

But he instead rejected arguments that the traditional definition of marriage violates constitutional equal protection or due process rights, or that sexual orientation is a “protected class.”

He further agreed with the state that marriage laws “serve a central state interest of linking children to an intact family formed by their biological parents,” and the state’s legitimate interest that fundamental social change — such as changing marriage laws — is “cultivated through democratic consensus.”

Gay voices on social media were often incensed about the “homophobic” ruling; many were especially offended that Judge Feldman worried about “inconvenient questions,” such as whether ruling for gay marriage meant states must one day permit or recognize loving and caring marriages of an aunt and niece, aunt and nephew, brother and brother and father and child.

In other words, Judge Feldman thinks “marriage equality paves the way for incest,” a sarcastic writer said at Queerty.com.

The ruling will be appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said attorneys for Forum for Equality Louisiana, Jonathan Robicheaux and other gay plaintiffs.

According to bestofneworleans.com, Louisiana politicians are divided on same-sex marriage.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. David Vitter, both Republicans, support traditional marriage, while Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat up for re-election, supports civil unions — and was one of only three Democratic senators not to endorse same-sex marriage.

Earlier this year, Mrs. Landrieu said that while her own personal views have evolved, the people of Louisiana “have made clear that marriage in our state is restricted to one man and one woman.”

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