Gay Marriage

Federal Judge Upholds Louisiana Ban on Gay Marriage, Says 'Traditional Authority' Must Trump 'Lifestyle Choices'

|

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In a decision issued today in the case of Robicheaux v. Caldwell, Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Louisiana's ban on gay marriage does not violate the U.S. Constitution and in fact is a rational means of advancing the state's "traditional authority" to regulate marriage. To recognize gay Americans as a class of citizens entitled to heightened judicial protection in equal protection cases, Judge Feldman declared, "would distort precedent and demean the democratic process."

Judge Feldman's ruling draws heavily on the principles of judicial deference, which hold that the courts should rarely invalidate the judgment of the elected branches of government and should instead grant lawmakers the benefit of the doubt in most legal disputes. "This national same-sex marriage struggle," he wrote, "animates a clash between convictions regarding the value of state decisions reached by way of the democratic process as contrasted with personal, genuine, and sincere lifestyle choices recognition." According to Judge Feldman, gay marriage advocates should stop pressing their case in court and turn instead to achieving social change "through democratic consensus."

Today's ruling is the first federal court decision against gay marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. An appeal is expected.

Advertisement

NEXT: School Bans Dangerous Activity Known as 'Doing A Cartwheel'

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. In a decision issued today in the case of Robicheaux v. Caldwell, Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Louisiana’s ban on gay marriage does not violate the U.S. Constitution and in fact is a rational means of advancing the state’s “traditional authority” to regulate marriage. To recognize gay Americans as a class of citizens entitled to heightened judicial protection in equal protection cases, Judge Feldman declared, “would distort precedent and demean the democratic process.”

    Say it ain’t so, Igor!

  2. That great “Libertarian,” Thomas Jefferson, thought homosexuals should be castrated and lesbian types should have part of their face gouged out. I fear it is a bit much for me to be calling you guys rhomites anymore. But this sympathy you guys have for buggery is also a bit much. Having read The Pink Swastika that was my analysis at the time. I didn’t know the Koch Brothers were into holocaust denial and their father was an admirer of Hitler. That I could not imagine.

    1. F. Had you worked in a few swipes at Ayn Rand I may have given you a D-.

      1. I just want to know what the hell “rhomites” are. Is that supposed to be a slur?

        1. I think he misspelled “rhomboid.” He’s calling us parallelograms, and I don’t know about you but I’m offended. I’m not a parallelogram! I’m a square! Oh, wait a sec.

        2. Yes, it means we are faggy Nazis.

          Underzog’s imagination is his weakest quality, even weaker – incredibly – than his musical ability.

        3. Well, it’s a misspelling of “R?hmite”, after SA founder Ernst R?hm (sometimes spelled “Roehm” in English) who was a notorious homosexual. After R?hm was purged during the night of the long knives the Nazis went all anti-homo.

          The Pink Swastika is part of the canon of holocaust-denialism. The book focuses on the early gay-friendly days of the Nazi party and ignores the camps and exterminations.

          1. Ah I see. Apparently he doesn’t realize that leaving a umlaut out can alter the word in German, well and incorrect spelling.

            1. Poor spelling is the least of his crimes, Toki.

              1. crimes moral failings

                1. I guess it’s just too much to expect a better class of troll.

      2. What are you talking about? That was a solid B-.

    2. Holy shit. First Chad shows up, then Underzog. Is it shitty-troll flashback week or something? I wonder when Max will make an appearance.

      1. Both Dan T and Mary were seen together on a recent popehat thread.

        I imagine it’s like The Gathering, but with poo instead of swords.

        1. You mean Highlander or that stupid card came that uberdorks play?

            1. I meant the movie Highlander. I don’t know what you mean about the stupid card game since the only card game I know of with the word “gathering” in the title is a *cool* card game that I play on occasion.

                1. I concur with sarcasmic on this one.

                2. Underzog is right, you guys *are* faggy Nazis

                  1. You know who else was a faggy Nazi….

        2. Wait, Dan T? We could have continued our argument about HOAs.

      2. I can’t wait for Joe and MNG to make an appearance.

        1. If MiNGe shows up, my index finger is gonna get exhausted from scrolling past endless John-MNG “debates”. Ugh.

          1. How about MNG-TAO debates?

      3. It sounds as if you recognize these people.

      4. Don’t forget Orrin.

      1. AAAAAHHHHHH! That noise gave my ears chick cancer!

    3. Wow, Underzog. Thanks for that informative and well-researched link on Thomas Jefferson.

      1. That part wouldn’t surprise me, but then Jefferson was ahead of his time. SOP back then was to execute homos for crimes against nature, sodomy, whatever.

        1. Truly the Founding was a Golden Age of reasonable, limited government and personal liberty.

          1. Their first derivative rocked. 2nd too.

          2. Why, yes, Bo, yes it was compared to everyone else at the time.

            1. I prefered my math response, because I figure there is a good chance Bo doesnt get it.

              1. He found it derivative

                /maybe

            2. I think he has a point to an extent. While the left does have a tendency to ignore the context in which the shortcomings of the early United States occurred in, there’s still a tendency among many on the right to idealize the past as better than it really was. It’s not at all uncommon on conservative or libertarian websites to see comments along the lines of “everything has gone to shit since then” or “we’ve been on a continuous decline in liberty since year X” which is not at all accurate.

  3. Libertarian

    moment

  4. In case there were any doubt that all our Dear Leader cares about is cronies and unions cronies. DOT rejects application by Norwegian Air to provide low-fare service to the U.S.

  5. In case Reason checking off Gay Marriage on today’s bingo card doesn’t hold your attention, here is Balko’s feature about St. Louis and how the system there works.

    A clip: And Voss recalls one incident in which after successfully negotiating with a prosecutor to reduce his clients’ fines, the prosecutor replied, “You’re taking money right out of my pocket, here.”

    “That sounds shocking, right?” Voss asks. “But if you’ve been in these courts a while, it isn’t really all that controversial thing to say.”

    1. another: In 2000, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in a series of articles that motorists passing through the tiny town of Bel-Ridge (also on Natural Bridge Road) were getting pulled over for running a red light at an intersection where the light had previously always flashed yellow….

      As it turns out, in 1998 Bel-Ridge police had received permission from the DOT to install switch at the light that allowed an officer to manually convert it to red. The switch was installed so an officer could allow children from a nearby school to safely cross the road. But the engineer witnessed police switching the light to red when there were no children present at the intersection at all, just as groups of cars were passing through. Another officer would then pull one or more cars over and issue them tickets. Bel-Ridge police denied the allegation, and insisted that officers only switched the light to red when children needed to cross. But the engineer found that most of the morning tickets were issued between 9 and 10:30am, when school was already in session. The Post-Dispatch noted that in 1996, two years before the switch was installed, Bel-Ridge derived 29 percent of its annual revenue from traffic fines. In 1999, the first full year after the switch was installed, that figure jumped to 44.8 percent.

      1. My state DOT is wanting to put up variable speed limit signs. I’m sure it will work out just as well.

        Back to rule of men.

    2. The guys suing the John Doe prosecutors in Wisconsin filed their appellate response brief today. The facts make for some real nut punches.

      http://legalinsurrection.com/2…..ervatives/

      Who cares about out of control prosecutors trying to criminalize politics? We all know gay marriage is the most important issue facing mankind today.

      1. It’s not like that’s some issue ignored here

        1. Lighten up Francis.

          1. The irony, it burns?

    3. “I know I have a heavy foot. I have kids. I have to work to support them. I’ve also been taking classes. So I’m late a lot. And when I’m late, I speed. But I’m still a human being.”

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCFyJIDGztA

  6. Haven’t seen the opinion yet, but I have to wonder how he squared marriage as a fundamental right with rational basis review

    1. The state’s regulation of marriage was not one of the animating cries of 1776.

      I

    2. Hard to argue with the judge’s logic. If the state has the authority to regulate marriage, the courts can’t just overrule the state’s authority if they don’t like the outcome.

      1. But the question is whether this regulation violates the plaintiffs right to marry or their equal protection rights.

        1. So for example SCOTUS has recognized state authority to generally regulate marriage while striking down specific regulations barring prisoners or interracial couples from marrying.

        2. Can a gay man marry a woman?

          If so, his “right to marry” has not been violated.

        3. But the question is whether this regulation violates the plaintiffs right to marry or their equal protection rights.

          The EP argument for gay marriage is an exercise in question-begging.

          It assumes that marriage doesn’t really mean one man/one woman, but really means any two people.

          If it really means any two people, then gay marriage is an EP issue. However, if it really means one man/one woman, then gay marriage is a definitional error.

          The courts assume it means any two people. This is generally supported by some hand-waving at changing social/cultural blah blah. However, if you are pointing at purported changes in society, you have to ask: why are judges uniquely situated to detect these changes, as opposed to elected legislatures, referenda, and the like?

          The real question is: who gets to define marriage for legal purposes: the legislature, or the federal judiciary?

          1. The old miscegenation cases are consistent with this approach, BTW.

            They assume that marriage really means one man/one woman, as defined by the courts, and then went on to state that restrictions on one man/one woman marriage, such as one man and one woman of the same race, have to pass Constitutional muster.

            1. They assume that marriage really means one man/one woman, as defined by the courts state legislature,

      2. Sure they can. They just have to be giving you your pony. Aren’t you aware of the Reason “if you like the result, you can keep it” theory of Constitutional interpretation?

  7. OT: Ohio’s attorney general fights release of video from Walmart shooting: ‘Trust the system’

    Don’t know if you guys remember this one. Latest development after the family and attorney have watched the video.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/201…..he-system/

    1. Attorney General Mike DeWine allowed Crawford’s father and attorney Michael Wright to view about 5 minutes from the video after an Aug. 18 protest outside his Columbus office,

      I thought there was a rule that said they have to show the evidence. Is that not correct?

      1. They do during Discovery. Unless they as the State invoke the FYTW clause.

        1. Don’t forget that years later, when the appeals process brings out evidence that evidence wasn’t turned over, there’s no consequences for the DAs involved.

  8. I could have sworn our system was in part based on democracy but good to know the AG knows better

  9. Once again, we have a judge refusing to play the role as designed by Madison – to take a meat cleaver to legislation instead of rubber stamping it upon the basis that legislation is presumed to be constitutional.

    There is no language in the constitution that sets forth that legislation is to be presumed constitutional. There is also no language authorizing the judiciary to abdicate their roles as being impenetrable bulwarks against each and every attempt by democratically elected legislatures to usurp the province of individual liberty.

    Moreover, there is no language in the constitution supportive of the proposition that the democratic process is the apex of liberty and must therefore be accorded some kind of deference. To argue otherwise, is to open thy rear-end to the thrusts of majoritarianism and parlimentarianism.

    We must never forget that the doctrine of constitutional presumption enjoyed a steroidal spurt during the Progressive era.

    1. “We must never forget that the doctrine of constitutional presumption enjoyed a steroidal spurt during the Progressive era”

      Bravo

      1. You mean, the Progressive Era when SCOTUS struck down a whole shitload of economic regulation on the theory that interstate commerce meant, you know, interstate commerce?

    2. Libertymike, you are assuming that gay marriage is an EP issue because marriage really means any two adults, not one man/one woman.

      The entire Constitutional push to mandate gay marriage licensing by the states is based on assuming the conclusion that marriage, at some point in the recent past, changed its meaning from one man/one woman to any two adults.

  10. Wait a minute. I thought we were ok with judicial decisions on same-sex marriage and now we aren’t?

    Was there a meeting I missed, a memo that I didn’t get?

    1. Only if they are on The Right Side of History, you know.

  11. the state’s “traditional authority” to regulate marriage.

    So sister marriage is still ok, right?

    /ducks

  12. You know, I’ve been thinking about it, and the state should really just get out of the marriage business altogether. And until that’s accomplished, we have to draw the line at the gays, because of cake makers.

    1. The Right to Marry includes the Right to Force Christians to Bake You a Wedding Cake.

  13. If you are a strict constructionist it is hard to come to any other conclusion.
    This is why the Constitution was made to be amended. 200+ years of politics have practically made that route void though.

    That is why Scalia and the others who claim this as their guiding principle are educated idiots.

  14. There is a problem with your accusation, Hugh Rat’sSon, this means if I play the Tchiakovsky First Piano concerto, which I have, I am also a supporter of homosexuality according to your logic.

  15. Ha! I sometimes think that Reason only publishes these gay rights issues to show how many so called Libertarians are just piece of shit right-wing extremists.

  16. I can’t imagine anyone defending this judge would be ok with the government telling them who they can or cannot marry. Every argument against same sex marriage is based on bigotry and/or imposing one’s religious values on others. No church should be forced to perform same sex marriage, but many choose to do so.

    The alternative is to do away all civil law regarding marriage & turn it into a purely symbolic institution.

  17. Sometimes a rightwing moron makes it into a judgeship. We’ve had rightwing morons as presidents, and they get to appoint judges. It’s a wonder there aren’t more Republican-appointed judges half-assedly dribbling oft-discredited slippery-slope hogwash on this issue. Most Republican judges are at least smart enough to see the writing on the wall. I’m just curious to see if they reserved the dumbest for the highest court, as I suspect.

  18. There used to be a principle in this nation called inalienable rights. To define that, I say that any and all nonviolent, non-larcenous, non-coercive, consensual adult behavior that does not violate the rights of others is your inalienable rights. What this judge has done is to uphold the religious beliefs of some over the rights of others to honest, peaceful behavior. Further, the Ninth Amendment states that the Bill of Rights is not all the rights retained by the people. And the Tenth amendment states that those powers (not rights) not given to the federal government are retain by the states and by the *people.* All power of the government comes from the natural powers of the people. Ergo, the ban on gay marriages is a Constitutional violation.

    1. To further elucidate on what I just said:

      “Judge Martin Feldman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled that Louisiana’s ban on gay marriage does not violate the U.S. Constitution and in fact is a rational means of advancing the state’s ‘traditional authority’ to regulate marriage.”

      The “traditional authority” to which Judge Feldman refers comes to us from England and Europe when England and Europe were ruled by religious laws. The Judge wants to uphold religious laws, or laws based on a specific religious beliefs. That would seem to violate the First Amendment’s “establishment” clause.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.