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La. marriage amendment back on ballot after court ruling

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–A Louisiana appeals court Aug. 30 placed a state constitutional marriage amendment back on the ballot, reversing a lower court’s ruling and moving the case closer to the state Supreme Court.

The decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a ruling by Judge Christopher Bruno, who had said the amendment was unconstitutional because it does not occur on a statewide election date and because it deals with more than one issue. But the appeals court disagreed on both points.

“In this case, it is premature to consider whether the substance [of the amendment] is unconstitutional because it is not yet the law of Louisiana,” the court wrote, according to The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

The amendment is scheduled to appear on the Sept. 18 ballot, although that has been placed in doubt because of lawsuits by the homosexual activist group Forum for Equality. The group has lost three separate times on the appeals court level; the Louisiana Supreme Court may hear the case but has yet to schedule oral arguments.

“The people pushing for same-sex ‘marriage’ don’t want the voters to decide the issue,” Mike Johnson, an Alliance Defense Fund attorney who is involved in the case, said in a statement. “No matter how hard they try, opponents of this amendment keep failing in their attempt to use the courts to circumvent the will of the people.”

The amendment would ban both same-sex “marriage” and Vermont-type civil unions.

As many as 12 states could vote on marriage amendments between now and November. Louisiana’s is the only one not scheduled for a Nov. 2 vote.

State marriage amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing Massachusetts-type rulings legalizing same-sex “marriage.” But they can be overturned in federal courts, where Nebraska’s marriage amendment is being challenged. For that reason, pro-family groups are supporting an 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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