Thursday, April 23, 2009

Same-sex marriage: Gay couple in Louisiana sues over license denial

04/22/09 AP (posted to Shreveport Times):

"A gay couple in New Orleans is suing over being denied a marriage license in Louisiana, claiming their rights are being violated by a state constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. Kristoffer Bonilla, 33, and John Thomas Wray, 18, are asking a federal judge to strike down the constitutional amendment, which lawmakers and voters overwhelmingly approved in 2004."

Plaintiffs claim the state's marriage amendment violates the First Amendment "by curtailing the right to marry based upon a religious interpretation of the nature and purpose of marriage itself. By failing to articulate a legitimate, compelling and secular interest for the restriction on marriage, the state has necessarily established a wholly religious civil institution." (Click here for the complaint.)

This federal lawsuit involves a novel test of the First Amendment. (Plaintiffs also allege violation of the equal protection clause.) Except for an equal-protection challenge in the Central District of California, I am also unaware of any other federal lawsuit against a state's constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.

Randy Evans, an attorney for Forum For Equality, comments on the lawsuit, but the organization does not appear to be involved. The complaint shows that Bonilla and Wray filed the complaint pro se. Will they attract counsel to represent them?

Source of AP reference: ADF Alliance Alert

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