Fifth Circuit appeals court will follow SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage

by

comment
Hundreds of people rallied in Jackson Square on June 26 following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage.
  • Hundreds of people rallied in Jackson Square on June 26 following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. But Gov. Bobby Jindal wanted to wait on another court ruling to determine whether the state will adhere to the high court's decision. "Of course we're going to comply with a court order," Jindal said on Meet the Press last Sunday. "We don't have a choice."

In January, a three-panel judge at the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a Louisiana case in which same-sex couples pushed the state to overturn its same-sex marriage ban. The appellate court waited to issue its ruling, as the Supreme Court's ultimate, superseding decision on Obergefell v. Hodges was pending anyway. Today, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Supreme Court's decision is "the law of the land":
Obergefell, in both its Fourteenth and First Amendment iterations, is the law of the land and, consequently, the law of this circuit and should not be taken lightly by actors within the jurisdiction of this court. We express no view on how controversies involving the intersection of these rights should be resolved but instead leave that to the robust operation of our system of laws and the good faith of those who are impacted by them.
The Fifth Circuit ruling sends the case back to U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman along with an order to reverse his decision, effectively eliminating Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban. The Fifth Circuit ruling also attaches a July 17 deadline for the District Court, as one of the plaintiffs, Robert Welles, is ill.

But following the ruling, Jindal said state agencies will continue to follow the state's ban on same-sex marriages until the District Court orders otherwise.

On Monday, as clerks of court statewide began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Jindal said in a statement, "When the Fifth Circuit issues their judgment, it is important to note it will in no way diminish or overrule the fundamental rights to the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech guaranteed by both the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 8 of the Louisiana Constitution."

He also said clerks of court and judges who refuse to issues licenses are protected by the state — and can receive pro-bono representation in court.

"In Louisiana, we celebrate diversity of belief and the religious liberties that are fundamental to our society," Jindal said. "We do not support discrimination and believe that these two foundational values can simultaneously co-exist. The ruling in Obergefell does not permit states to bar same-sex couples from marriage, but the ruling in no way forces specific individuals to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs, or to perform or facilitate same sex marriages."


Add a comment