First Federal Ruling Against Same-Sex Marriage Since DOMA Repealed

For the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013, a federal judge has ruled against same-sex “marriage” and for the right of a state to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.

On September 3, U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman issued a 32-page ruling affirming Louisiana’s voter-passed constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage, in the process declaring that there is “simply no fundamental right, historically or traditionally, to same-sex marriage.”

In his ruling in favor of Louisiana’s 2004 amendment, passed by 78 percent of the state’s voters, Feldman, a Reagan-era appointee, pointed out that same-sex marriage was “nonexistent and even inconceivable until very recently. 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.”

Feldman wrote that the Louisiana case illustrated the conflict between “decisions reached by way of the democratic process” and “personal, genuine, and sincere lifestyle choices.”

He noted that the state of Louisiana maintains “that marriage is a legitimate concern of state law and policy, that it may be rightly regulated because of what for centuries has been understood to be its role.” By contrast, he wrote, the plaintiffs, who embrace same-sex marriage, argue that “if two people wish to enter into a bond of commitment and care and have that bond recognized by law as a marriage, they should be free to do so, and their choice should be recognized by law as a marriage; never mind the historic authority of the state or the democratic process. These are earnest and thoughtful disputes, but they may have become society’s latest short fuse.”