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La. court sends state marriage amendment case to high court

BATON ROUGE, La. (BP)–A Louisiana state appeals court declined to rule on the constitutionality of a marriage amendment Oct. 13, sending the case directly to the state Supreme Court.

After hearing oral arguments the five-judge appeals court panel sent the case to the high court, which now must decide whether to overturn or affirm a lower court ruling that tossed the amendment out, the Associated Press reported.

On Oct. 5, district Judge William Morvant ruled that the amendment violated the Louisiana constitution because it applied to two separate issues, banning both same-sex “marriage” and Vermont-type civil unions. Voters who favored civil unions but opposed same-sex “marriage” had no option, Morvant argued.

Pro-family leaders criticized Morvant’s ruling. The amendment passed on Sept. 18 by a margin of 78-22 percent, and homosexual activists sued to have it overturned.

“This is not a difficult or complicated matter,” Gene Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum, told Baptist Press earlier this month. “It’s not one that the people were unsure or unclear about — the question of multiple objects.”

The amendment was placed on the ballot by the Louisiana legislature. Louisiana law gives opponents a brief window of opportunity to challenge amendments after they pass.

By the end of the year 13 states will have voted on marriage amendments, with 11 of those voting Nov 2. The amendments are in reaction to events in Massachusetts, where that state’s high court ruled that the state must legalize same-sex “marriage.” If Massachusetts had had a marriage amendment, the court would have been bound to the traditional definition of marriage.

Although state marriage amendments can tie the hands of state courts, they can be overturned in federal court. For that reason, pro-family leaders are pushing for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage.

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