Ten years ago this week, as Lousianans hunkered down in anticipation of Hurricane Ivan, lesbians and gays geared up for a storm that could do lasting damage to our community.
For it was on September 18, 2004, that Constitutional Amendment One was passed by voters. It stated, “Marriage in the state of Louisiana shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.”
Across America that election year, marriage equality was a hot-button topic wielded by fervent opponents as a wedge issue to drive voters to the polls. In February 2004, President George W. Bush called on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to protect “the most fundamental institution of civilization.”
On September 18, only 27.5% of state voters cast ballots but the majority voted to enshrine discrimination in our state’s constitution.
Fortunately that week, Hurricane Ivan brushed Louisiana with minimal effects. But the storm of controversy over marriage equality left an ugly stain on the state that remains to this day.
Earlier this month, US District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans ruled against Forum for Equality Louisiana in its lawsuit seeking marriage rights for same-sex couples, writing that a person’s sexual orientation was one of several “lifestyle choices.” The ruling flies in the face of same-sex marriage victories in more than 20+courts over the past year.
Forum for Equality has begun the process to appeal that ruling. We need your help to continue the expensive and time-consuming legal fight for the rights you deserve. By joining us and making your donation, you can help ensure that Louisiana LGBT rights group will battle opposition at every corner.
With Equality for All,
Chair, Forum for Equality Foundation