Today, Forum for Equality Louisiana, together with four couples, filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s constitutional ban on recognizing same-sex marriages legally performed outside of the state.
The lawsuit charges that Louisiana’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages violates the US constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. The prestigious New Orleans law firm of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann filed the suit in US District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, on behalf of Forum for Equality Louisiana and four couples. The couples are Jacqueline and Lauren Brettner, Nicholas Van Sickels and Andrew Bond, Henry Lambert and Carey Bond, and Havard Scott and Sergio March Prieto. Meet the Plaintiffs here.
Louisiana singles out only same-sex marriages for unequal treatment, a violation of the constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Louisiana’s disparate treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex couples who are married outside of Louisiana demonstrates that the purpose of the Louisiana Anti-Recognition Laws is to “impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages that were lawfully celebrated in other states,” according to the lawsuit, which cites the US Supreme Court’s 2013 decision of United States v. Windsor overturning a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
This is as basic as the Golden Rule. Treating others as one would want to be treated includes extending all the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples who are truly committed to each other. This lawsuit would uphold this very basic principle of freedom for all Louisianans.
Join Forum for Equality Louisiana and our brave couples as we embark on the hardest challenge we’ve ever taken on, and we hope you will be part of our success. As we build our momentum, remember, how much we can do is up to you. Your contribution of $40 or more lets us know you believe Louisiana is ready.
We have a big task to undo the constitutional ban here in the Pelican State. We can’t just hope equality will trickle down some day. We need to fight for equality now.
SarahJane E. Brady
Executive Director, Forum for Equality Louisiana