A Louisiana state court ruled Monday that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. That opinion was originally sealed because the case involved the adoption of a minor child, but the ruling was released to the public Tuesday.
Judge Edward Rubin, writing for the 15th Judicial District Court in Lafayette Parish, ruled that a lesbian couple who had been legally married in California should be considered legally married in Louisiana. The decision was based on the law's violations of the guarantees of equal protection and due process under the 14th Amendment, as well as conflicts with the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
This ruling could mean big changes in the gay marriage landscape for Louisiana residents.
Though by most reports this ruling is only effective in Lafayette Parish, Judge Rubin's decision lays important groundwork for future statewide challenges. Rubin found that the "sole reason" for prohibiting this couple from marriage was their same-sex status and that these laws were "unrelated to any legitimate state interest." Judge Rubin also agreed that this case was very similar to Loving v. Virginia, where the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a fundamental right to marriage in the face of bans on interracial marriage.
The court also cited two Supreme Court cases from the 1930s and 1940s to support the argument that "local policy must at times be required to give way" in the face of the federal system. Judge Rubin ordered Louisiana to recognize the couple's California marriage as legal and allow the non-biological parent to adopt her wife's child.
Again, this decision applies only in Lafayette Parish, but The Associated Press reports that the state attorney general will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.