Fed. judge upholds ban on gay marriage while sneering at other courts as ‘pageant of empathy’
A federal judge ruled to uphold Louisiana’s ban against same-sex marriage, the first such ruling since the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic 2013 ruling in Windsor v. United States, which struck down the federal definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed reported on the ruling Wednesday, saying that by U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman’s estimation in the decision, same-sex couples have no “fundamental right” to marry and that the many recent court decisions regarding the issue have been in error.
“Many states have democratically chosen to recognize same-sex marriage. But until recent years, it had no place at all in this nation’s history and tradition. Public attitude might be becoming more diverse, but any right to same-sex marriage is not yet so entrenched as to be fundamental,” wrote Feldman.
“The federal court decisions thus far exemplify a pageant of empathy; decisions impelled by a response of innate pathos,” wrote Feldman — who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983.
“It would no doubt be celebrated to be in the company of the near-unanimity of the many other federal courts that have spoken to this pressing issue, if this Court were confident in the belief that those cases provide a correct guide,” he continued.
He went on to invoke the moral “slippery slope” that society will hazard if it allows same-sex marriage, a reductio ad absurdum argument which holds that if committed same-sex couples are allowed to marry, anyone will be able to marry any other person or thing.
If marriage becomes drained of its “one man and one woman” nature, he fretted, it will be “reduced to contract law, and, by contract, anyone will be able to claim marriage.”
“For example,” he wrote, “must the states permit or recognize a marriage between an aunt and niece? Aunt and nephew? Brother/brother? Father and child? May minors marry? Must marriage be limited to only two people? What about a transgender spouse? Is such a union same-gender or male-female? All such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another, just like the plaintiffs.”
No, argued Feldman, the prevailing definition of marriage has been good for millennia and therefore is good enough for the Court.
“The Court is persuaded that a meaning of what is marriage that has endured in history for thousands of years, and prevails in a majority of states today,” and therefore is neither discriminatory nor “universally irrational” under the U.S. Constitution.
He went on to attempt to bat aside arguments that excluding same-sex couples from marrying “could only be inspired by hate and intolerance.” He cited the ruling in the case of Bishop v. Smith, which said that for an exclusionary law to be considered malicious and damaging to a group, it must be “wide-ranging and novel deprivations upon the disfavored group or deviation from the historical territory of the sovereign simply to eliminate privileges that the disfavored group might otherwise enjoy.”
In other words, because Louisiana has never had same-sex marriage, it clearly doesn’t need it, and that it is not unreasonable to deny it.
Geidner — who named as the National Lesbian and Gay Journalist’s Association (NLGJA)’s 2014 Journalist of the Year — noted that if the decision is appealed, it will go to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported Wednesday afternoon that a spokesman for the Forum for Equality confirmed that the plaintiffs’ legal team is already preparing an appeal.
[image of Judge Martin Feldman via Wikipedia.com]