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La. judge tosses out marriage amendment; 78 percent of state voters had approved it

BATON ROUGE, La. (BP)–A Louisiana judge tossed out that state’s constitutional marriage amendment Oct. 5, just two weeks after it was approved by more than three-quarters of voters.

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.

Amendment supporters say they will appeal. The amendment was approved Sept. 18 by a margin of 78-22 percent.

Gene Mills, executive director of the Louisiana Family Forum, said it is ironic that an amendment intended to tie the hands of judges was in the end struck down by a judge.

Louisiana law provides a small window of opportunity to challenge amendments after they pass in an election.

“We’re obviously shocked,” Mills told Baptist Press. “We anticipated a favorable ruling. This is not a difficult or complicated matter. It’s not one that the people were unsure or unclear about — the question of multiple objects.”

In the weeks preceding the September vote, homosexual activists in Louisiana tried to keep the amendment off the ballot. They received a favorable ruling from a lower court judge, but ultimately lost when the Louisiana Supreme Court allowed the amendment to stay on the ballot. Amendment supporters hope that the high court will once again side with them.

The amendment was placed on the ballot by the Louisiana legislature.

Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human Rights Campaign, praised the ruling. HRC is the nation’s largest homosexual activist group.

“This is an important ruling for fairness,” she said in a statement. “Judge Morvant’s action today keeps discrimination out of the Louisiana constitution. These amendments deny American families basic rights, responsibilities and protections.”

As many as 11 states will vote on constitutional marriage amendments Nov. 2. Earlier this year, Missouri voters passed a marriage amendment in that state by a margin of 71-29 percent. The Louisiana amendment enjoyed even more support and passed in every parish — even in New Orleans.

Morvant asserted that the amendment forced those who opposed same-sex “marriage” but favored civil unions to make a choice.

Mills, though, disagreed.

“I think what Thomas Jefferson said early on is indicative of the problem in America today — the people are the final arbiter of the Constitution,” he told BP. “… It’s not a judge. The people have spoken in this matter.”
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust