Louisiana Issues Marriage Licenses To Same-Sex Couples

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday, days after a historic Supreme Court ruling last week paved the way for gay marriages across the country.

         Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court Jon Geggenheimer said in a telephone interview that a license was issued there Monday morning. It was believed to be the first license issued to a same-sex couple in the state. The license was issued after the attorney for the clerk of court cleared it, Geggenheimer said.

         "History is being made," Geggenheimer said after hearing from his deputy that a couple was receiving a license.

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         The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, but clerks around the state had held off on immediately issuing licenses after consulting with lawyers.

         The Louisiana Clerks Association issued a statement Friday saying it was advising clerks of court to wait for the end of a 25-day period for the high court to consider a rehearing.

         One couple waited for hours on Friday in New Orleans to receive a license, only to eventually be told it would not happen that day.

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         Gov. Bobby Jindal is opposed to gay marriage but has said the state would comply with the ruling.

         Louisiana was one of numerous Southern states where same-sex marriages faced deep opposition. Louisiana voters overwhelmingly approved a 2004 amendment to the state constitution that banned same-sex marriages and prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions.

         Gay rights advocates have said polling shows a shift in voter attitudes since then.

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         – by AP Reporter Janet McConnaughey



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