Once again, a federal court has ordered Louisiana to begin recognizing same-sex marriages immediately and ruled that the state’s ban on recognizing gay unions is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, who had previously upheld Louisiana’s ban, ordered state officials on Thursday to comply with last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
The ruling is the final procedural step in a legal process that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has demanded must play out before it will concede that the Supreme Court’s ruling will be allowed to take effect in the state.
But the administration’s position has shifted throughout the process. Officials first said they needed a federal appeals court to affirm the Supreme Court decision. Then, when that judgment came Wednesday, they set Feldman’s order as the catalyst for changing state policy.
Almost every other state in the country immediately began recognizing same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday.
While the Jindal administration’s refusal to immediately recognize the high court’s order led parish clerks to refuse to issue licenses on Friday, by Monday clerks had taken it on themselves to begin issuing licenses. Now marriage licenses are available from clerks or judges in nearly every parish.
It remains unclear how the Jindal administration will respond to Feldman’s order.
In September, Feldman became the first federal judge to uphold a same-sex marriage ban in the recent wave of challenges brought by gay couples. The order issued Thursday reverses that decision.
Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.