Louisiana Marriage Amendment Back on Ballot

After lower courts issued conflicting rulings on the Lousiana's vote on a proposed marriage amendment, an appeals court OK'd vote on the measure. The case is expected to head to the Supreme Court.
( [email protected] ) Aug 31, 2004 01:35 PM EDT

Supporters of a Louisiana constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage won a case on Aug. 30, in which an appeals court reversed a lower court’s decision to halt ballot voting on the issue.

Attorney John Rawls, representing a group of homosexual activists who filed the challenge, said he intends to take a writ to the Supreme Court, asking the Court to consider all three together.

Vote on the measure remains scheduled for Sept. 18 unless the High Court rules differently.

Supporters of the measure hope it will experience the same success as a similar measure overwhelmingly passed by 71 percent of Missouri voters on Aug. 3.

The most recent ruling from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals came after a series of conflicting rulings from lower courts.

In one of three cases filed by homosexual activists, contending the amendment was unconstitutional since it dealt with more than one issue and jeopardized the rights of same-sex civil unions, Civil District Court Judge Christopher Bruno voted the amendment off the ballot.

Bruno blocked vote on the amendment for two reasons: first, Bruno declared the amendment unconstitutional since it addresses multiple issues. Secondly, the amendment would appear on a ballot that was not on a statewide election date, thereby being the only topic on ballots in several parishes.

Another judge overturned Bruno’s decision. However, in his second ruling, Bruno upheld his original position.

The appeals court refuted both bases for Bruno’s ruling. Although the court suggested that the amendment would deal with more than one issue, it called the issues "germane to one another sufficiently,” and said a legal challenge on that point could be filed only after the election. The judges ruled that the amendment's appearance on those ballots automatically makes that date a statewide election.

“The people pushing for same-sex ‘marriage’ don’t want the voters to decide the issue. No matter how hard they try, opponents of this amendment keep failing in their attempt to use the courts to circumvent the will of the people,” said Mike Johnson, attorney of Alliance Defense Fund for intervenors in the case Forum for Equality PAC, v. City of New Orleans.