Four gay couples in Louisiana on
Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality
of Louisiana's ban on recognizing the out-of-state marriages of gay
The plaintiff couples – one of which
is lesbian – are represented by the New Orleans law firm of Stone
Pigman Walter Wittmann on behalf of Forum for Equality Louisiana, an
LGBT rights group.
The plaintiffs claim that Louisiana
singles out only gay couples for unequal treatment, a violation of
the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.
“Louisiana's disparate treatment of
same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are married outside of
Louisiana demonstrates that the purpose of the Louisiana
Anti-Recognition Laws is to 'impose a disadvantage, a separate
status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages'
that were lawfully celebrated in other states,” according to the
“This is as basic as the Golden
Rule,” SaraJane Brady, executive director of Forum for Equality
Louisiana, said in an emailed statement. “Treating others as one
would want to be treated includes extending all the rights and
privileges of marriage to lesbian and gay couples who are truly
committed to each other. This lawsuit would uphold this very basic
principle of freedom for all Louisianans.”
An overwhelming majority (78%) of
voters approved Louisiana's 2004 constitutional amendment which
states that marriage “shall consist only of the union of one man
and one woman” and prohibits state officials and judges from
recognizing the out-of-state marriages of gay couples.
The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the
amendment in 2005.