Wednesday, a federal judge upheld Louisiana’s gay marriage ban, ruling that representative in the state have the right to ban same-sex couples from marrying.
“It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue, if this court were confident in the belief that those cases provide a correct guide,”Judge Martin Feldman wrote. “Clearly, many other courts will have an opportunity to take up the issue of same-sex marriage; courts of appeals and, at some point, the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision of this court is but one studied decision among many.”
Judge Feldman is the first federal district judge that has upheld a state ban since the Supreme Court knocked down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, a federal ban on gay marriage signed by President Bill Clinton.
“This court is persuaded that Louisiana has a legitimate interest . . . whether obsolete in the opinion of some, or not, in the opinion of others . . . in linking children to an intact family formed by their two biological parents,” Judge Feldman wrote.
“The court is persuaded that a meaning of what is marriage that has endured in history for thousands of years, and prevails in a majority of states today, is not universally irrational on the constitutional grid.”
Judge Feldman was nominated to the bench in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. Though many on the left will no doubt attack his ruling, he said Louisiana needed to show only that there was a rational reason for voters to limit marriage to a man and a woman.
He said that because the Supreme Court has never recognized gays as a class to be specially protected from discrimination, and while marriage is a fundamental right, it has not traditionally been seen as a right extended to same-sex couples.
The People’s representative legislatures might be free to do that, Feldman wrote, but not judges.
The opposition to same-sex marriage has been the long-term trend in America, and in 2004 gay marriage bans were wildly successful across the country. Opponents say that if proponents wish to change the law and culture, or even if they were so confident in the polling supposedly showing a shift in public opinion, then they can take it through the respective legislative channels.
The last time the courts decided an issue of morality of this magnitude was in Roe v. Wade, at a time many on the left also proclaimed a shift in public opinion. However, now the country is by majority pro-life, and the issue has plagued politics ever since.