LAFAYETTE — The state Attorney General’s Office on Friday asked the Louisiana Supreme Court to quickly reverse a ruling by a Lafayette judge that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
The ruling this week by 15th Judicial District Judge Edward Rubin “threatens to subvert the orderly administration of Louisiana’s marriage, adoption, tax and vital records laws,” attorneys for the AG’s office wrote in the appeal filings.
The decision, which came in an adoption case filed by two women in Lafayette, has been suspended pending the state’s appeal and will have no immediate impact.
The Louisiana Supreme Court is under no timeline to hear the appeal, and some legal experts have opined that the state’s highest court might hold off ruling on the Lafayette case, considering the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to soon take up the same-sex marriage issue.
“Yet that possibility does not absolve this court from its responsibility to address the trial court’s sweeping decision in an expeditious manner,” wrote attorney Kyle Duncan in the appeal filed Friday. Duncan has been hired by the state AG’s office to handle challenges to the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
Duncan noted that Rubin’s ruling declaring the ban unconstitutional came just three weeks after U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman upheld the ban in a case out of New Orleans.
“Because of these directly conflicting federal and state decisions issued within three weeks of each other, the state officials in this case are now subject to radically inconsistent guidance on the constitutionality of Louisiana’s marriage laws,” Duncan wrote.
The appeal also stated that Rubin’s ruling “is demeaning to the more than 600,000 Louisiana citizens who voted to retain Louisiana’s man-woman definition of marriage in 2004,” referring the election results for the “Defense of Marriage” state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Rubin, who likened same-sex marriage bans to Jim Crow-era laws against interracial couples, made his ruling in an adoption case involving Angela Costanza and Chasity Brewer.
They legally married in California in 2008 and now live in Lafayette.
Costanza sought to be legally recognized as a parent to Brewer’s son, which raised the issue of the validity under Louisiana law of their California marriage license.
Rubin found that Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment and the U.S. Constitution’s “full faith and credit clause,” which calls for each state to recognize the laws and court decisions of other states.
The judge also declared unconstitutional a state Department of Revenue policy that barred same-sex couples from filing joint state tax returns.
Supporters of same-sex marriage have praised the ruling.
“Unlike Judge Feldman’s uninformed and mean-spirited ruling earlier this month that dismissed real Louisiana families, Judge Rubin’s ruling today demonstrates that Feldman doesn’t represent Louisiana values,” Equality Louisiana President Tim S. West said in a written statement when the ruling was issued.