Fight over same sex marriage far from over in Louisiana

Fight over same sex marriage far from over in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision on same sex marriage removes a pillar of resistance in the state of Louisiana.

"It means Louisiana's prohibition on same sex marriage is now invalid," said Tulane Law Professor Stephen Griffin, an expert on constitutional law.

In 2004, Louisiana voters decided it should be unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. Those who believe marriage should be between a man and woman remain unbowed in the face of the high court's ruling.

"I think it was devastating and I think that the legal world will be a great place to buy stock in, because it will be lots and lots of lawsuits throughout this nation," said La. Senator A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell.

"They violated more than 225 years of our tradition in this country," said Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City.

Rep. Johnson tried, but failed to get his "religious freedom" bill through the just ended Louisiana legislative session, but after Friday's Supreme Court action he is more determined than ever to try again.

"If someone believes that marriage is between one man and one woman, the legislation would say that their accreditation for their private school, their business certification, their professional license all those various aspects of what the states affords us would not be jeopardized," Johnson said.

Johnson thinks his legislation will be more attractive now.

"I think the legislation has a great chance of passage in the next session, I believe everyone will understand now what it was about and the importance of it. We have to protect the right of conscience and the beliefs of those who are not going to go along with this new definition of marriage," Johnson stated.

"It was notable the court didn't say anything about commercial enterprise. Now, it did say religious organizations or persons, which left open the possibility of further litigation on that point," Griffin said.

But what does the ruling mean for members of the clergy? Will they be forced to perform same sex marriages even if that's against their religious beliefs?

"The court left that an open question by saying that the 1st Amendment provides protection to organizations, or persons that don't believe in gay marriage, so they may receive indeed some protection under the law and probably won't be first to have to seal marriages that they don't believe should be recognized," Griffin stated.

Crowe, who is in his final term in the legislature, thinks there should be more support for efforts to give states the right to overrule Supreme Court decisions.

"Such as the 'Counter-mand Amendment' which gives the states rights that they never had before. Even with the 10th Amendment, teeth in the law, if you will, allow for enough states to get together to overturn the Supreme Court decision, to overturn an act by a president when we have a Congress that's grid-locked," Crowe said.

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