Same-sex marriage bans from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi would get a hearing in appellate court in New Orleans Friday. This lawsuit is the latest to try and settle the issue before the Supreme Court will step in.
On Friday, three judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals plan to hear arguments against same-sex marriage from state attorneys appointed by the three conservative Southern states and arguments promoting marriage equality from lawyers of the LGBT groups advocating against state bans.
Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi have currently laws that state a gay marriage ban within their borders. The cases disputed Friday are the last to be argued in a circuit court before the Supreme Court would settle the issue.
In the last three months, bans on gay marriage were overturned in 36 states. So, same-sex marriage is now legal in all these states and Washington, D.C.
The appellate court in New Orleans’s panel of judges decided to consolidate the appeals from all three states into one single session that would last no more than three hours. The move is highly unusual.
In Texas and Mississippi, two federal district judges declared the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional against the population’s will. However, in Louisiana, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman upheld the state ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Feldman’s ruling was the first to break the gay marriage spree, after 20 consecutive rulings struck down bans in other states.
Judge Feldman’s ruling was also the first ruling to uphold state ban since 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court partially invalidated the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
Feldman’s opinion most clearly state’s the opposing view. In that sense, he’s significant; his decision summarizes the arguments against us,”
said Kenneth Upton, a lawyer for a LGBT group advocating for gay rights nationwide.
In 2005, Texans said they agreed with a constitutional ban on gay marriage. However, in last February, the amendment was overturned by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia. The amendment remained in effect pending appeals.
In November, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves overturned Mississippi’s legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by two gay couples and a LGBT group against the state over its anti-same-sex marriage laws.
However, in November, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati said no to gay marriage in Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Ohio, while four other appeals courts overturned same-sex marriage ban in five more states.
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