Dateline: New Orleans. I always wanted to do that. Sweet dreams are made of this…
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman upheld Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, the first time a federal judge has ruled against marriage equality proponents since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last year in U.S. v. Windsor invalidated a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
In his long-awaited 32-page decision, Feldman dismissed a lawsuit brought by same-sex marriage proponents who argued that Louisiana’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, writing that Louisiana has a “legitimate interest” in “addressing the meaning of marriage through the democratic process.”
It marked the first time since the Windsor ruling that a federal judge has decided a state’s authority to define marriage trumps the right of a gay or lesbian couple to equal treatment, snapping an unbroken string of victories for gay-rights advocates in states from Utah to Virginia.
Judge Feldman did the old right-wing soft shoe about how this could lead to incestuous marriages and all that shit, but this is just one more round in this long fight. Frankly, the Fifth Circuit is chock-full-O-barking-mad-wingnuts and would have reversed a favorable ruling in any event. This way, they’ll affirm, which will help send this case to the Supremes. One of the reasons they have for taking cases is a conflict in the circuit courts, which will happen when the 5th Circuiteers get their hands on the Robicheaux v. Caldwell case.
I’m sorry for the litigants in this case, but it won’t be long until it wends its way to the Supreme Court. The Windsor majority will hold, which means there are 5 votes for marriage equality. This is one area where Anthony Kennedy is NOT a swing vote: he will go down in history as the gay rights justice. Not a bad thing to be.
Feldman’s ruling is a temporary detour, not a long range defeat. At the risk of being all churchy, the freedom train is still coming to the Gret Stet of Louisiana. It’s just going to take longer than we’d hoped but it’s coming. That’s right, uh huh.
Let’s play a few train songs since I’m belaboring the metaphor. I guess that’s okay since it’s just 2 days after belabor day: