Federal Judge Becomes First to Uphold State Marriage Amendment

Feldman pdNEW ORLEANS — A federal judge nominated to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan has upheld Louisiana’s state constitutional amendment enshrining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“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,” wrote Judge Martin Feldman on Wednesday.

He broke a series of over 20 federal decisions striking down state bans on same-sex ‘marriage,’ opining that states should have the right to decide its own affairs, including allowing voters to have their say regarding preserving the institution of marriage.

“Must the states permit or recognize a marriage between an aunt and niece?” Feldman asked. “Aunt and nephew? Brother/brother? Father and child? May minors marry? Must marriage be limited to only two people? What about a transgender spouse? Is such a union same-gender or male-female? All such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another, just like the plaintiffs.”

“This court is powerless to be indifferent to the unknown and possibly imprudent consequences of such a decision,” he wrote. “A decision for which there remains the arena of democratic debate.”

Louisiana’s Amendment 1 was passed during the 2004 November election with 78 percent of the vote.

“Marriage in the state of Louisiana shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman,” it reads. “No official or court of the state of Louisiana shall construe this constitution or any state law to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any member of a union other than the union of one man and one woman.”

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J. Dalton Courson, an attorney that challenged the amendment, said that he would appeal the ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We always anticipated that it would be a difficult challenge,” he told reporters. “We certainly are disappointed, considering the string of rulings in favor of same-sex marriage.”

But others supported Feldman’s decision.

“It’s refreshing to see this recognition of the right of states to manage their own affairs,” Louisiana attorney general, Buddy Caldwell, said in a statement.

“This ruling confirms that the people of Louisiana—not the federal courts—have the constitutional right to decide how marriage is defined in this state,” commented Gene Mills, president of Lousiana Family Forum.

“We commend Judge Feldman for refraining from judicial activism and recognizing that Louisiana voters are free to uphold natural marriage in their state’s public policy,” said Tony Perkins of Family Policy Council in Washington, D.C. “He rightly declared that the Courts have no authority to unilaterally change the definition of our most fundamental social institution.”

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  • Deborah Solesky

    Thank you, Judge, for not undoing the will of the people.