A federal judge on Wednesday will hear
arguments in a case challenging Louisiana's ban on gay marriage.
LGBT rights group Forum for Equality
Louisiana filed a case in February on behalf of four gay couples who
say the state's refusal to recognize their out-of-state marriages
violates the U.S. constitutional guarantees of equal protection and
due process. The case was consolidated with a similar challenge
involving two gay couples.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who
was nominated to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan,
will hear arguments in the case in New Orleans.
“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.