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La.'s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Constitutional, Federal Judge Rules

By Brett Snider, Esq. on September 03, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In a decision issued Wednesday, a federal judge upheld Louisiana's ban on gay marriage.

This ruling in Robicheaux v. Caldwell was based on U.S. District Court Judge Martin L. C. Feldman's evaluation that Louisiana's law was supported by rational basis. The decision is the first in more than a year to disrupt a long chain of federal courts which have ruled against state gay marriage bans. According to The Associated Press, more than 20 courts have ruled in favor of gay marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision invalidating a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.

So why was this case different?

Louisiana Bucks the Trend

As of June, there wasn't a single state that had an unchallenged gay marriage ban, although many states have chosen to overturn these laws by legislature or popular vote. Louisiana was one of many states where plaintiffs had chosen to challenge the gay marriage ban in federal court. And the recent trend of pro-gay marriage court rulings suggested they might similarly prevail.

However, Judge Feldman found that since Louisiana's law didn't implicate any fundamental rights and had a rational basis, the law must be upheld. The rational basis was found in the much-criticized notion that same-sex couples cannot serve as optimal parents for a child. This decision isn't the first to buck the gay marriage trend; a state court in Tennessee upheld the state's right to deny out-of-state gay marriages last month.

This decision below is likely to be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a decision on Texas' gay marriage laws is currently pending review.

Louisiana Gay Marriage Ban Upheld by Federal Judge

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