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Same-Sex Marriage in Louisiana

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On September 18, 2004, by a large margin, the voters of Louisiana approved a state constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriages and civil unions.

What the Amendment Accomplishes:
Although Louisiana already has a law recognizing marriage only between a man and a woman, this amendment gives protection to that law in the state constitution. It also prohibits state officials and courts from recognizing any out-of-state same-sex marriages or civil unions.

Summary of Amendment:

Act No. 926
House Bill No. 61 (Duplicate of Senate Bill No. 166)
Amendment No. 1, Regular Session, 2004, A JOINT RESOLUTION
"Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Louisiana, to enact Article XII, Section 15, relative to marriage; to require that marriage in the state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman; to provide that the legal incidents of marriage shall be conferred only upon such union; to prohibit the validation or recognition of the legal status of any union of unmarried individuals; to prohibit the recognition of a marriage contracted in another jurisdiction which is not the union of one man and one woman; to provide for submission of the proposed amendment to the electors and provide a ballot proposition; and to provide for related matters."
Source: Louisiana Secretary of State>p> Legal Challenges:
Legal action against the constitutional ban was instituted by the Forum for Equality. The group believed the amendment went too far and would affect private contracts between unmarried couples, regardless of their sexual preference.

On January 19, 2005, in Forum for Equality v McKeithen, the Louisiana Supreme Court said that "a defense of marriage amendment (Act 926) to the Louisiana constitution, which was approved by voters last September (Forum for Equality v. McKeithen), was validly adopted."

Additionally, Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr. stated on pages 35 and 36:

"I wish to reiterate the majority’s observations, at note 31, concerning the impact of this decision on property and contract rights of unmarriedcouples. Nothing in the majority opinion would prohibit an unmarried couple from contracting to be co-owners of property, from designating each other agents authorized to make critical end of life decisions, or from leaving property to each other through wills. The majority opinion does not disturb or impair the fundamental contract and property rights possessed by all individuals, be they homosexual or heterosexual, married or unmarried."
Source: Louisana Supreme Court

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