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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Louisiana Supreme Court blasts SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Hundreds of people rallied in support of same-sex marriage in Jackson Square on June 26. - ALEX WOODWARD
  • ALEX WOODWARD
  • Hundreds of people rallied in support of same-sex marriage in Jackson Square on June 26.

In a Louisiana case challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban and adoption rules, the Louisiana Supreme Court turned to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared those bans unconstitutional. State Supreme Court justices declined to rule yesterday in the case of Lafayette couple Angela Costanza and Chasity Brewer, declaring the state's appeal moot in light of the Supreme Court ruling that overturned same-sex marriage bans nationwide.

But — much like the dissenting justices in the Supreme Court ruling — several of state justices used the decree to criticize the Supreme Court and the "horrific impact" its ruling will have in the U.S.

Four of the five Louisiana justices concurred with the ruling and the Supreme Court, largely because they had to. ("I concur because I am constrained to follow the rule of law set forth by a majority of the nine lawyers appointed to the United States Supreme Court," wrote Justice Jeanette Theriot Knoll in her opinion.)

Justice Jeff Hughes, however, dissented.

"The most troubling prospect of same sex marriage is the adoption by same sex partners of a young child of the same sex," Hughes wrote, though he didn't say outright why he is troubled by it.

"Judges instruct jurors every week not to surrender their honest convictions merely to reach agreement," he wrote. "I cannot do so now, and respectfully dissent. Marriage is not only for the parties. Its purpose is to provide children with a safe and stable environment in which to grow. It is the epitome of civilization. Its definition cannot be changed by legalisms."

In his opinion, Justice Greg Guidry addressed Hughes and the dissent's views on same-sex adoption — and corrected Hughes by pointing out that the Louisiana case involves two women and their son: "The dissenting opinion appears to be unaware of the facts of the case before us, which involves the intra-family adoption of a boy by the female spouse of the boy’s biological mother. ... In any event, the dissenting opinion cites no legal or scientific authority, nor does the record contain any evidence, that would support its insinuation."

Though Knoll concurred with the ruling, she wrote a two-page criticism of the Supreme Court using some of the most biting language among the justices. Knoll said the high court's ruling "is a complete and unnecessary insult" to Louisiana voters who approved a same-sex marriage ban to the state's constitution in 2004.

"I write separately to express my views concerning the horrific impact these five lawyers have made on the democratic rights of the American people to define marriage and the rights stemming by operation of law there from," Knoll wrote. "Moreover, the five unelected judges’ declaration that the right to marry whomever one chooses is a fundamental right is a mockery of those rights explicitly enumerated in our Bill of Rights. Simply stated, it is a legal fiction imposed upon the entirety of this nation because these five people think it should be. ... While I have many friends in same-sex relationships, I respectfully would not bestow upon them legal rights of marriage as having a child of their physical union is literally impossible. Having children may be accomplished through legal adoption or artificial means of reproduction but neither avenue requires marriage."

She also referenced the Supreme Court justices as "five lawyers" who are "beholden to none" and have "[robbed] the people of their democratic process, forcing so-called civil liberties regarding who can marry on all Americans when the issue was decided by the states as solemn expressions of the will of the people."

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