VIDEO: Louisiana Family Forum thinks child welfare isn’t the state’s concern

Posted on 12 Jan 2015 at 11:44am
Gene Mills

Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills

In a press release written before the state made its case, Gene Mills, president of the Louisiana Family Forum said the state did “a masterful job in defending Louisiana’s rationale for defining marriage as a legal relationship between one man and one woman.”

I say “written before he heard the state make its case” because two of the three judges tore into Louisiana’s arguments about procreation and the third judge had few questions at all.

Here’s what he had to say outside the 5th Circuit courthouse after oral arguments on Friday, Jan. 9:


Marriage equality hits where it matters: The jewelry store

Posted on 11 Jan 2015 at 3:13pm

TiffanyOn Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments about marriage equality in states including Texas. How they rule could set the stage for whether same-sex couples can legally wed in the largest red state in the union. But a much more important decision was made before that about marriage: Where you can get a ring.

We joke. But Tiffany & Co. — which is, I mean, the Tiffany of jewelers — launched an ad campaign for wedding rings, which includes a (very smokin’) same-sex male couple. So no matter what the courts do, we’ve been blessed by a kind of pope of consumerism and prestige.

Of course, Tiffany isn’t the first — readers of Dallas Voice know many advertisers here have long supported marriage equality and courted the gay market, including Dallas’ own Joe Pacetti and Dian Malouf — but we’re pleased to see yet another mainstream embrace of our rights in a way that matters most to conservatives: Economically.


New Texas AG Paxton not happy with how things went in New Orleans

Posted on 10 Jan 2015 at 8:40am
Rep. Ken Paxton

Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton

As one of his first acts as Texas’ new attorney general, Ken Paxton weighed in on the 5th Circuit oral arguments on marriage equality heard on Friday, Jan. 9, in New Orleans. Apparently, he wasn’t happy with how things went.

“In 2005, Texans overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. I am committed to defending the Texas Constitution, the will of our citizens and this sacred institution,” Paxton wrote.

While the 5th Circuit was hearing appeals on marriage cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, the Supreme Court was holding a conference to decide which additional cases it may hear this session.

The court may announce as soon as Monday, Jan. 12, if it will hear a marriage equality case. If so, Paxton can defend the Texas constitution all he wants, but the Supreme Court ruling will take precedence.


Oak Lawn rally after 5th Circuit

Posted on 09 Jan 2015 at 9:48pm

About 150 people braved sub-freezing temperatures to demand the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard an appeal of the Texas marriage-equality case on Friday, Jan. 9, strike down discriminatory marriage laws.


BREAKING: No word from SCOTUS on cases appealed from 6th Circuit

Posted on 09 Jan 2015 at 7:51pm

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 7.49.06 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court today (Friday, Jan. 9) took no action on appeals of five marriage equality cases from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 6th Circuit court is the only federal appellate court since the Supreme Court’s June 2013 ruling declaring parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional to rule against marriage equality and in favor of state bans on same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court last fall chose not to hear appeals in cases from other circuits, all of which had ruled in favor of equality. The court also chose not to extend the stay on a Florida judge’s ruling overturning the ban there, leading to the start of same-sex marriages there on Monday (Jan. 5).

Although today was the first day the court might have announced some action on the five 6th Circuit cases, it wasn’t the last. According to a report by Reuters, the justices often delay acting on cases the first time they are discussed in their private sessions. An announcement on whether the court will hear the cases could come as soon as next week.


PHOTOS: Press conference after 5th Circuit oral arguments

Posted on 09 Jan 2015 at 2:18pm

Photos by Erin Moore:


Roberta Kaplan, attorney for the Mississippi plaintiffs (Erin Moore/Dallas Voice)


Texas plaintiffs Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin and Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss of Plano (Erin Moore/Dallas Voice)


Press conference after oral arguments (Erin Moore/Dallas Voice)


Press conference after oral arguments (Erin Moore/Dallas Voice)


Sound available for 5th Circuit oral arguments in Louisiana case

Posted on 09 Jan 2015 at 1:59pm

linesOral arguments in the Louisiana case can be found here:



‘Those words have resonated in these halls before’

Posted on 09 Jan 2015 at 1:35pm

Ken Upton, an attorney in the Louisiana case

Judge Patrick Higginbotham grew more and more skeptical of state arguments against same-sex marriage as the morning wore on.

One state attorney talked about “irrational prejudice.” Higginbotham asked the attorney what “rational prejudice” is. He questioned attorneys that this was a case of animus, even more dire than just irrational prejudice.

Patti Fink, who sat through oral arguments from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, said she struggled to sort out the twisted logic, but she said Higginbotham seemed to be having the same trouble.

Jonathan F. Mitchell, the attorney pleading the case for Gov. Rick Perry and the state of Texas, told the court, “Marriage is a subsidy.” He argued that because marriage is a subsidy, same-sex marriage doesn’t advance the state’s interest. Judge James Graves compared it to a school lunch subsidy and the argument made little sense.

The Louisiana and Mississippi cases revolved around procreation. When Mississippi attorneys argued that marriage rewards people for having families, Higginbotham said, “You don’t need an incentive to have sex.”

The Louisiana attorneys said that had New York not changed its marriage laws, the Windsor case (that found part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional) would not have happened.

Fink said attorney for the Mississippi plaintiffs Roberta Kaplan began her arguments by correcting the Louisiana attorneys. Kaplan explained Windsor was married in Canada and the United States was simply recognizing a marriage performed elsewhere as it does for any married couple.

When Louisiana attorneys argued it’s too soon to know whether same-sex marriage will work, Graves asked “What’s your magic number?” Kaplan debunked that argument in her presentation and said Massachusetts has had marriage equality for more than 10 years. During that time, the divorce rate has gone down and the number of straight couples getting married has remained constant.

When Texas tried to argue the “it’s too soon to know” argument, Higginbotham joined Graves in wanting to know what their number was. How long will it take them to know.

Graves also chided state attorneys for being against marriage just because it’s “scary” to them.

Mississippi argued, “We’re talking about a social policy issue, not a constitutional rights issue at this time.”

Higginbotham was skeptical of that. He closed the hearing with these words: “Those words, ‘will Mississippi change its mind’ have resonated in these halls before.”

— with reports from Erin Moore and Patti Fink


Texas oral arguments wrap, press conference begins

Posted on 09 Jan 2015 at 12:52pm

Louisiana plaintiff Scott Havard walks his dog while Texas oral arguments are heard (Erin Moore/Dallas Voice)

Oral arguments extended about 50 minutes past the allotted time because questioning went longer than expected and the judges allowed short breaks between each case.

The plaintiffs and attorneys in the three cases are gathering outside the courthouse for a press conference. Erin Moore is there waiting for the press conference to begin.


Ken Upton looking dapper outside 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans

Posted on 09 Jan 2015 at 12:05pm

Lambda Legal attorney Ken Upton outside the courthouse in New Orleans. Upton was one of the attorneys on the Louisiana case. (Erin Moore/Dallas Voice)