Precinct 333

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Will Of The Voters Prevails In Louisiana

Back in September, 78% of Louisiana voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution to ban gay marriage. A judge immediately overruled the will of the people on the grounds that the amendment dealt with more than one subject.

Today the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the will of the people, ruling that "each provision of the amendment is germane to the single object of defense of marriage and constitutes an element of the plan advanced to achieve this object."

At issue was a provision of the amendment that stated: ""A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be recognized."

Opponents had warned that the amendment went far beyond banning gay marriage and would deny contractural rights to all unmarried couples — whether gay or heterosexual — in such areas as owning property, willing it to heirs, and taking legal care of an incapacitated partner. As a result, they contended, the amendment had more than one object, and therefore could not become part of the constitution.

The court ruled that the amendment did not take away any of the rights that currently exist in Louisiana law permitting the joint purchase of property by unmarried partners, the delegating of medical decisions to an unmarried partner, or the bequeathing of property in a will. This portion of the decision, while not legally binding in other states, will serve to undercut the argument that the defense of marriage amendments undercut the ability of unmarried individuals, particularly homosexuals, to manage their legal, business, and financial affairs.


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