The Freedom to Marry in Louisiana
Winning Marriage: June 26, 2015
The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide on June 26, 2015, allowing all same-sex couples in Louisiana the ability to marry once and for all. The decision followed more than a year of marriage litigation in Louisiana.
History and the Path to Victory:
- 1988: The Louisiana legislature passes a state statute restricting marriage to different-sex couples. The state adds further restrictions to its Civil Code in 1999.
- September 18, 2004: Opponents of the freedom to marry in Louisiana push through Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and any other legal family status. The amendment cements clearly discriminatory language into the Louisiana Constitution.
- 2004-2013: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in Louisiana take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
- July 16, 2013: Same-sex couples and counsel file a federal legal case seeking the freedom to marry in Louisiana, Robicheaux v. George. In the same year, several other cases are filed – including Forum for Equality Louisana v. Barfield, building momentum for marriage in the courts. Read the initial complaint in Robicheaux and the inital complaint in Forum for Equality Louisiana. Then meet the plaintiffs in Robicheaux and meet the plaintiffs in Forum for Equality Louisiana.
- February 18, 2014: Polling in Louisiana tracks marked growth in support for the freedom to marry or other forms of relationship recognition, reflecting the power of the national discussion of why marriage matters.
- September 3, 2014: U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman becomes the first federal judge since the Windsor decision in June 2013 to uphold marriage discrimination. Read the ruling. The plaintiffs, joined soon after by Lambda Legal, appeal immediately to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, underscoring the urgency of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage for same-sex couples.
- September 22, 2014: Louisiana District Court Judge Edward Rubin rules in favor of the freedom to marry in a state legal challenge to the 2004 Louisiana Constitutional amendment. The decision is put on hold pending appeal by the state. Read the ruling.
- January 9, 2015: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit hears oral argument in the Louisiana marriage case but holds off on ruling until a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
- June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, ending marriage discrimination across the country, including in Louisiana.
Groups That Actively Worked on Marriage
- Equality Louisiana is a statewide coalition working toward full equality for LGBT people in Louisiana.
- Forum For Equality Louisiana is a political action committee and civil rights organization dedicated to the establishment of a society free from discrimination and to the support of good government.
- Lambda Legal is the United States' first legal organization dedicated to achieving full equality for LGBT people. Lambda Legal served as counsel in the Robicheaux case beginning in late 2014.
- Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.