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Louisiana plaintiffs will appeal ruling that upheld state ban on same-sex marriage

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Gay marriage supporters in Louisiana said they will appeal a federal judge’s ruling upholding the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying.

Expressing surprise at a ruling by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman, attorney Dalton Courson said he anticipated multiple avenues to appeal the decision, which marked the first time a court had ruled in favor of a marriage ban in more than 20 rulings by federal judges since the U.S. Supreme Court struck several provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage in a landmark ruling last year.

“There are long, consistent line of cases from the various federal courts since the Windsor decision last summer finding that couples have a right to get a marriage license or have their marriages recognized in their home states.”

Arguments for gay marriage have prevailed in district courts from Virginia to Texas, and have also won over appeals courts in three cases. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, which covers Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, already has pending an appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down Texas’ ban on gay marriage.

Richard Perque, a lawyer representing one of the seven same-sex couples in the Louisiana case said he was surprised by Feldman’s ruling, but felt that breaking the winning streak for gay marriage advocates might speed the hot-button issue on its way to an eventual hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I think this is going to be a very interesting exercise in constitutional law,” Perque said.

“Being the only adverse ruling in the country, I do think that it shines a spotlight on the issue for the court.”

Mary Griggs, chair of the Forum on Equality, a New Orleans gay rights organization, who also is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, took issue with the idea, which seemed crucial to Judge Feldman’s decision, that state voters should be allowed to decide whether to allow same-sex couples to marry in their state.

“I don’t think I want anyone to vote on my rights,” Griggs said.

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