Same-sex couples take fight for marriage equality to N.O. federal court

FOX 8 photo
FOX 8 photo

Derek Penton and Jonathan Robicheaux got married in Iowa in 2012.

Now, the Bywater residents face another big step. Wednesday, they - along with several other same-sex couples from across Louisiana - head to New Orleans federal court where a judge will hear their suit against the state.

They want Louisiana to recognize their out-of-state marriage.

"This house, we own together. The wills and things like that don't always cover if something were to happen. The medical bills that he racked up when he wasn't allowed to be on my insurance [weren't covered], things like that, and just everyday things. We just live as a normal couple and we want to be respected that way," Penton said.

They're arguing that a Supreme Court ruling last year should mean that Louisiana must follow the Federal government's recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states where it's legal.

The case follows rulings in several other states to recognize these marriages.

Still, Fox 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti expects a challenge regardless of the decision here.

"They're going to take it up to the Fifth Circuit. Whoever loses this and depending on, let's say, what the Sixth Circuit does, where there are these things coming together, I think ultimately the Supreme Court is going to decide, especially if there's a split in the circuits," Raspanti said.

Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Greater New Orleans declined to comment. However, last June Archbishop Gregory Aymond said following that Supreme Court ruling: 'It's disappointing because it continues to erode the traditional marriage as given to us by god."

For Penton and Robicheaux, marriage is already a reality. Now, they just want the state they live in, Louisiana, to recognize it.

"You can't put a class of your citizens in a second tier," Penton said. "It all boils down to what's basically right."

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