After Ruling, Louisiana Gays Hope To Get Marriage Licenses

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Within moments of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage on Friday morning, gays and lesbians in Louisiana hoped to begin obtaining marriage licenses soon — perhaps even by the end of the day — in a Deep South state where political leaders often speak out against homosexuals.

         A gay couple in New Orleans, Michael Robinson and Earl Benjamin, was working Friday morning with officials on obtaining a license. Elsewhere, gay couples in Lafayette also had requested licenses.

         Debbie Hudnall, executive director of the Louisiana Clerks Association, told The Associated Press they were advised by attorneys that Rule 44 of the U.S. Supreme Court allows a 25-day period for a rehearing and they should wait for that to elapse before issuing licenses.

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         "There will be same sex marriage in Louisiana," said John Hill, a spokesman for Forum for Equality Louisiana, a gay rights group. "It will be sooner than later."

         Hill was supporting the New Orleans couple, Robinson and Benjamin, who wanted to be the first to marry.

         In Lafayette, meanwhile, gay couples also showed up at the clerk's office seeking licenses. The clerk there said he was taking telephone numbers and would personally contact applicants once he was given guidance on how to proceed.

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         But Louisiana's political leaders reacted strongly too.

         Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican running for the White House as a conservative Christian, quickly blasted the Supreme Court's decision. He was campaigning in Iowa when the ruling was issued.

         Calling gay marriage a "states' rights" issue, Jindal lambasted the Supreme Court for "trampling" on a state's right to determine who can enjoy marriage.

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         Jindal went one step further and said, "Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that." He vowed he would "never stop fighting for religious liberty."

         Religious conservatives like Jindal say court-ordered equality for same-sex couples amounts to an attack on the religious beliefs of people opposed to gays and lesbians.

         U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, a Republican from Lafayette, was also upset at the ruling.

         "Today's decision imposes the will of the court upon the will of the states, creating an ongoing controversy, not a lasting solution," Boustany said in a statement. "While I disagree with the Court's decision, I will work with my conservative colleagues to clarify the law to ensure this institution is protected for future generations."

         – by AP Reporter Kevin McGill




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