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Louisiana Gay Rights Group Challenges Gay Marriage Ban

Four gay married couples have joined the Forum for Equality Louisiana to launch a legal challenge to the state’s constitutional prohibition against recognizing gay marriages performed in one of the 17 states that allow marriage between same-sex spouses.

A draft of the lawsuit indicates that they plan to argue that the Louisiana revenue department rule requires gay married couples jointly filing federal tax returns to falsify their state returns and knowingly lie and claim to be single. According to the Forum, this is in violation of the right to free speech.

Other issues addressed by the suit are that married gay couples are denied the rights of inheritance when one spouse passes away and the fact that only one parent in a gay union with children is permitted to be listed on the birth certificate.

In 2004, an amendment was added to the Louisiana constitution that defines marriage to be “only of the union of one man and one woman.” The amendment also disallows any court or state official from recognizing marriages “contracted in any other jurisdiction which is not the union of one man and one woman.”

The state of Mississippi faces its own legal challenge from a woman seeking a divorce from the wife she married in California. Without legal recognition of her marriage by the state of Mississippi, she can’t get the divorce.

Challenges to the traditional legal definition of marriage are popping up in jurisdictions all over the country and will undoubtedly have an impact on the legal system as these lawsuits wind their way through the courts and face lengthy appeals, regardless of the initial verdict.

If you are facing divorce or custodial issues with your spouse, protect yourself and your rights by retaining the counsel of a knowledgeable Louisiana family law attorney who can advise you and represent your interests to the court.

Source: The Times-Picayune, “Gay rights group to file legal challenge to Louisiana’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages” No author given, Feb. 12, 2014

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