Adam Polaski at FreedomToMarry.org has posted this blog about the latest court ruling out of Louisiana on same-sex marriage, this time striking down the state’s ban on gay marriage.
Polaski explains: “The case, In Re Costanza and Brewer,was filed in 2013 on behalf of Angela Marie Costanza and Chastity Shanelle Brewer, who are raising their 10-year-old son in Lafayette. The case sought respect for Angela and Chastity’s marriage license; since Louisiana did not respect their marriage, one mother was not permitted to legally adopt her son.
“The ruling today grants the second-parent adoption and affirms that the Louisiana amendment violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.”
Polaski calls Louisiana federal Judge Martin Feldman’s Sept. 3 upholding the same-sex marriage ban an “out-of-step decision,” and notes that “40 separate rulings have been issued since June 2013 in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples [and m]ore than 80 cases have been filed in state and federal courts across the country.”
KLFY Channel 10 News in Lafayette is reporting that Louisiana State Judge Edward Rubin has ruled that the state’s law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because it violates the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution.
Four couples in Louisiana are challenging the state’s ban on recognizing marriages performed out-of-state.
The couples are using discriminatory taxes as the basis of their lawsuit. State law requires taxpayers to use the same filing status — either single or married — on their state returns as on their federal returns. The IRS ruled that married same-sex couples may file joint returns whether they live in a marriage-equality state or not. Louisiana ruled that same-sex couples may not file joint returns.
Same-sex couples are faced with either breaking the law by providing a different status on their state tax returns or defying a ruling by the state Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield wrote last September.
“The taxpayer must provide the same federal income tax information on the Louisiana State Return that would have been provided prior to the issuance” of the IRS ruling, Barfield wrote.
Louisiana law directs taxpayers to use the same status on state tax returns that they use on federal returns. Because of the state constitution’s ban, the revenue department requires that a gay couple filing as married on a federal tax return must file a Louisiana return as single or head of household.
If Louisiana couples file joint federal returns and separate state returns, they may be paying higher taxes and would have higher tax preparation costs. Their suit claims it is discriminatory and requires them to file a false marital status.
The suit is based on federal equal protection and free speech rights. It is being filed a week after Attorney Gen. Eric Holder spoke at the New York City HRC dinner and said married same-sex couples would have all federal rights accorded opposite-sex couples.
Arlington City Councilman Mel LeBlanc recently responded to a constituent’s concerns about gas drilling in the city by making a joke about gay sex, according to e-mails obtained by Instant Tea.
LeBlanc couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
According to copies of the e-mails, Arlington residents Ken and Kim Feil sent LeBlanc a copy of an article from The Advocate, a newspaper in Baton Rouge, La., about an oil and gas well blowout in that state. Arlington is considering changes to its gas drilling ordinance.
LeBlanc, who reportedly supports gas drilling, responded to the Feils’ e-mail by saying he thought The Advocate was a national gay publication — which it is; there is more than one Advocate — and asking what this has to do with “drilling holes in the … .” Then LeBlanc added, “oh, wait, I see” in an apparent attempt at humor. Here’s the e-mail:
So, should we be offended by this bad juvenile joke? From a gay standpoint, probably not. But if we were the Feils we’d probably be a little annoyed that LeBlanc is making light of their concerns about gas drilling. We’d say LeBlanc’s e-mail might also raise the question of how he knows about the gay Advocate.
We spoke with Kim Feil about the e-mail on Friday, and she said LeBlanc has already called her to apologize. But Feil, who calls herself an environmental activist, said based on her past experience with LeBlanc, she wasn’t surprised by his joke.
“It was expected,” Feil said. “He just evades facing the issues. He’s pretty consistent with being offensive.”
UPDATE: LeBlanc has posted a response in the comments below.
Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover on Thursday, Dec. 17, issued an executive order protecting LGBT city employees there from discrimination in employment.
It was his first executive order as mayor.
The move puts Shreveport on the very short list of Louisiana cities offering such protections to their LGBT workers. Baton Rouge and New Orleans are the only other cities in that state to do so. And New Orleans is the only city that offers such protections to employees in the private sector. ShreveportTimes.com has more information.
If you think the Texas Attorney General is a reactionary because he’d rather see a gay Dallas couple remain married than possibly recognizing their marriage in a sideways kind of way by allowing them to get legally divorced, you don’t have to look farther than Louisiana to see just how really bad things are.
Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay of Hammond, La., went to the justice of the peace to get a marriage license on Oct. 6. Just to be clear, Beth is a woman and Terence is a man. They wanted to get opposite-sex married.
But they live in Louisiana. And Humphrey and McKay are an interracial couple.
So Tangipahoa Parish Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell denied them a marriage license. It wasn’t because he is a racist, he insisted. Instead, he said, “My main concern is for the children.”
Yes, children of interracial couples are at a disadvantage in this country, mostly because bigots don’t accept them. Children of gay and lesbian couples have that same trouble. Bigots taunt and tease them and use their own harassing behavior as proof that those children have a difficult time.
However, despite what Mr. Bardwell thinks, children of interracial couples do grow up to become president of the United States and even win Nobel Peace prizes.
In his defense, Bardwell told Associated Press, “I try to treat everyone equally.”
By that he means it was nothing personal. He equally denies marriage licenses to any and all interracial couples. I can just imagine his reaction to a gay or lesbian couple applying for that same license from him. And an interracial gay or lesbian couple would probably give him apoplexy.
The American Civil Liberties Union is preparing a letter to the Louisiana Supreme Court to remove Bardwell from office.
ACLU attorney Katie Schwartzman said, “The Supreme Court ruled as far back as 1963 that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry.”
Really? Tell that to Texas and 44 other states that deny gays and lesbians the right to marry.