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State of Louisiana
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Current Status

  • 1 case challenging the state ban on same-sex marriage in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals; 1 case regarding adoption in state appeal court.


  • In 1997, the City of New Orleans extended health insurance benefits to same-sex partners of city employees, the first and only city in the state to do so.
  • In 1998 and 1999, in addition to having a state constitutional ban on marriage equality, Louisiana added provisions to its Civil Code prohibiting same-sex couples from contracting to marry and prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.
  • In 1999, the City Council of New Orleans created a domestic partner registry for the city.
  • On 3 December 2013, Louisiana finally agreed to conform with Dept. of Defense policy stating that state workers would be considered federal workers while enrolling same-sex couples for benefits. (Following the June 2013 Windsor ruling, the DoD had issued directives requiring state units of the National Guard to enroll the same-sex spouses of guard members in federal benefit programs. On 3 October 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel publicly insisted on compliance.)
  • In an error-ridden opinion on 3 September 2014, Federal District Judge Martin Feldman upheld Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. Feldman was the first federal judge to rule against same-sex marriage since the June 2013 SCOTUS decision in Windsor
  • There has been a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions from 2004 through 2014.
  • On 3 September 2014, Federal District Judge Martin Feldman upheld the Louisiana ban.
  • On 22 September 2014, state court Judge Edward Rubin ruled that Louisiana's ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional.

Legislation - Pending


Legislation - Enacted


Lawsuits - Pending


Lawsuits - Resolved

Robicheaux v. Caldwell (formerly Robicheaux v. George)

Case #:  14-31037 (5th Circuit); 13-5090 consolidated with 14-97 & 14-327 at Federal District Court level
Court Level: 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 13 January 2014
Date of Ruling: 1 July 2015


  • Federal court challenge to Louisiana's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and recognition of lawfully performed out-of-state same-sex marriages, filed Jan. 13, 2014, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (5th District, Federal District Court) on behalf of two same-sex couples married in Iowa who were seeking to have their marriages recognized by the state of Louisiana.
  • This case was originally filed 16 July 2013, but was dismissed because the plaintiffs had only named Attorney General James Caldwell as a defendant and he hadn't actually denied them the recognition of their marriage. The case was refiled on 13 January 2014, naming State Registrar Devin George as defendant.
  • Consolidated with Robicheaux v. Caldwell, #13-5090, a case which the court had held did not sue any defendant responsible for non-recognition. That case has since been dismissed.
  • 25 June 2014, oral argument was held. The judge indicated he desired further briefing in order to reach all issues related to the state’s ban on allowing same-sex couples to marry or to have their out-of-state marriage recognized.
  • 16 July 2014, Robert Welles and Garth Beauregard (unmarried plaintiffs) filed a Motion For Summary Judgment.
  • 16 July 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Request for Oral Argument.
  • 16 July 2014, a Joint Motion to dismiss without prejudice claim for violation of Full Faith and Credit Clause was filed.
  • 17 July 2014, the dismissal was granted.
  • 21 July 2014, the request for oral argument was denied. U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman heard arguments in June regarding LA’s refusal to recognize the unions of same-sex couples legally married in other states, but surprised litigants when he declared that he would not simply consider the out-of-state marriage recognition cases before him, but intended to rule on LA’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage as well. Feldman said he doesn’t need to hear any more arguments in the case and has signaled he is prepared to rule the ban’s constitutionality.
  • 3 September 2014, in our first federal loss since the June 2013 Windsor decision, Louisiana Judge Feldman upheld the state's ban on marriage equality. The ruling is full of worn-out, anti-gay language, i.e. comparisons to incest, polygamy, and pedophilia, and references to the outdated and incorrect phrase "lifestyle choices." We remind people that the Lovings lost, too, their first time around. ThinkProgress analyzed the ruling.
  • 3 September 2014, the plaintiffs said they will appeal Judge Feldman's ruling, although the attorneys have not yet chosen the grounds they will use for doing so. 
  • 19 September 2014, the state filed a Motion to Expedite asking the 5th Circuit to expedite the schedule so that this appeal can be assigned to the same panel and argued at the same time as the DeLeon v. Perry (Texas) appeal.
  • 25 September 2014, the 5th Circuit granted Louisiana's request to expedite this appeal so that it can be heard by the same panel as DeLeon (Texas). 
  • 17 October 2014, the Plaintiffs-Appellants' filed their Opening Brief
  • 27 October 2014, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals tentatively set oral argument in the this case and Texas' DeLeon for the week of 5 January 2015.
  • 31 October 2014, the state defendants filed their brief.
  • 7 November 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Reply brief with the 5th Circuit.
  • 20 November 2014, 5th Circuit appeal set for argument on Friday, 9 January 2015 in New Orleans, West Courtroom, AM session. 
  • 20 November 2014, the plaintiffs filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Court to take the case! Lambda Legal Press Release
  • 2 December 2014, the State of Louisiana filed its Response in support of the Supreme Court taking appeal.
  • 5 December 2014, the case is now reflected on the 5th Circuit's calendar for 9 January 2015, 30 minutes per side.
  • 17 December 2014, this case was distributed by SCOTUS for conference on 9 January 2014.
  • 17 December 2014, U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Taking Up Louisiana Marriage Equality Case - By Charlie Joughin, HRC Blog
  • 29 December 2014, the panel for the marriage cases is now posted on 5th Circuit calendar: Judges Patrick E. Higginbotham, Jerry E. Smith and James E. Graves, Jr.
  • 5 January 2015, the 5th Circuit posted the rules for attendance for the oral argument Friday, 9 January 2015.
  • 8 January 2015, round up of information from Equality Case Files on Friday's 5th Circuit oral arguments, including links to briefs filed in this case, and the Texas and Mississippi marriage cases.
  • 9 January 2015, audio of today's 5th Circuit oral argument is now available.
  • 12 January 2015, SCOTUS denied cert until 5th Circuit rules - page 20 of the Orders list.
  • 1 July 2015, the Fifth Circuit Reversed the lower court's decision and Remanded for entry of judgement in favor of the plaintiffs!
  • 2 July 2015, Judge Feldman entered final judgment in the case.
Forum for Equality Louisiana v. Barfield 

Case #: 2:14-cv-00327
Court Level: 5th Circuit Court of Appeals since consolidation
Date Filed: 21 February 2014
Date of Appeal:


Constanza v. Caldwell (formerly In Re Costanza and Brewer)

Case #: 2014-CA-2090 (Supreme Court of LA); A-20130052 D2 (15th Judicial District Court)
Court Level: Louisiana Supreme Court
Date Filed: 2013
Date of Appeal: 26 September 2013
Ruling Date: 7 July 2015


  • In 2013 a same-gender couple (Angela Marie Costanza and Chastity Shanelle Brewer) sought LA recognition of their CA marriage and a joint adoption.
  • 26 July 2013, a state judge ruled against them.
  • 25 September 2013, they appealed that decision.
  • 25 February 2014, the LA Attorney General hired Kyle Duncan (from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) as Special Attorney General to defend the LA ban on same-gender civil marriage.
  • 4 June 2014, a decision was rendered remanding the case to the trial court to allow the filing of an amended petition, and to allow for a full hearing on the constitutional issues addressed by the case.
  • 22 September 2014, in disagreement with the 3 September 2014 ruling by federal judge Martin Feldman in Robicheaux (1st case above), state court Judge Edward Rubin ruled in a broad decision that the Louisiana ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, violating the equal protection, due process, and Full Faith and Credit clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling does not take effect immediately. The state has some 30+ days to appeal the decision. If appealed within that time, the decision will be put on hold while the appeals court considers the case.
  • 23 September 2014, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced plans to challenge Judge Edward Rubin's decision before the LA Supreme Court. His office will ask the high court to overturn Judge Rubin’s ruling.
  • 25 September 2014, Judge Rubin's ruling was stayed per a Motion for Suspensive Appeal filed by AG Caldwell. Per the motion, this is being appealed directly to the Louisiana Supreme Court because that court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review a trial court's declaration that a state law is unconstitutional. 
  • 26 September 2014, the state filed their Application for Direct Appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court
  • 29 January 2015, courtesy of Equality Case Files (EQCF): Video of oral argument before the Louisiana Supreme Court in Costanza v. Caldwell, January 29, 2015. NOTE: There are two gaps in the argument where the Court's transmission paused. The gaps are noted in the video. Thank you to John Bare for producing this video for Equality Case Files.
  • 7 July 2015, the Louisiana Supreme Court dismissed this case as moot because, the court ruled, the U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage and marriage recognition “resolved” the matter.

Ballot Initiatives - Pending


Ballot Initiatives - Passed



  • 2 July 2014, Public Policy Polling released results of a poll that showed that 55% of voters still thought that same-sex marriage should not be allowed in the state. However, 62% thought that gay couples should have some type of legal recognition, with 28% thinking they should be able to legally marry and 32% thinking they should be able to have civil unions. Poll Details
  • Results released in February 2014 from an LSU Public Policy Research Lab survey found that 41.7% of respondents supported legalizing same-sex marriage, while 52.7% were against, 1.5% refused to answer, and 4.1% don't know. Poll Details
  • A February–March 2013 LSU Public Policy Research Lab survey found that 39.3% of respondents supported legalizing same-sex marriage, while 56.3% were against, and 4.4% don't know. Poll Details