LGBT rights in Louisiana
|LGBT rights in Louisiana|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 2003
(Lawrence v. Texas)
|Discrimination protections||None (see below)|
|Louisiana Constitutional Amendment 1 limits marriage to man/woman, places restrictions on non-marriage types of same-sex unions
Louisiana Civil Code article 89 prohibits persons of the same sex contracting a marriage.
Louisiana Civil Code article 3520 bans the recognition of purported same-sex marriages from other states.
Consensual same-sex sexual activity is legal in Louisiana.
Laws against same-sex sexual activity
Sexual acts between persons of the same sex are legal in Louisiana. They were previously criminalized under the state's sodomy law, which applied to both homosexuals and heterosexuals. The law was rendered unenforceable in 2003 by the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas.
In 2013, law enforcement officers in East Baton Rouge Parish arrested men who agreed to engage in sexual activity banned by the statute. The District Attorney did not prosecute those arrested, and both he and the parish sheriff supported repealing the sodomy statute. In April 2014, a bill to repeal the statute failed in the Louisiana House of Representatives on a 66–27 vote after lobbying in opposition by the Louisiana Family Forum.
Recognition of same-sex relationships
On September 18, 2004, by 78% to 22%, the voters of Louisiana approved a state constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriages and civil unions. The measure did not ban domestic partnerships.
In July 2013, a state trial court dismissed a same-sex marriage lawsuit brought by a lesbian couple who married in California, In Re Costanza and Brewer, and the plaintiffs appealed that dismissal because they were not allowed to amend their complaint. On Feb 5th 2013, 15th Judicial District Court Judge Edward Rubin ruled in favor of the Costanza and Brewer, marking the first successful couple in Louisiana to win a same-sex marriage adoption case.
In July 2013, a lawsuit brought in federal court, Robicheaux v. Caldwell, challenged the state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. The plaintiffs were a same-sex couple married in Iowa in September 2012. They were later joined by a second couple. The court dismissed the suit in November 2013 because it found that the only named defendant, the state attorney general, had taken no specific action with respect to the plaintiffs' marriages. On February 5, the Robicheaux plaintiffs, now joined by two women married in Iowa in 2013 and two men denied a marriage license in New Orleans in January 2014, refiled their suit naming the proper state defendants. Forum For Equality, a Louisiana LGBT activist group, filed a separate suit on behalf of 4 couples on February 12, seeking recognition of same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.
Adoption and parenting
Louisiana allows single persons to adopt and does not explicitly deny adoption or second-parent adoption to same-sex couples.
Louisiana has successfully defended in federal court its refusal to amend the birth certificate of a child born in Louisiana and adopted in New York by a same-sex married couple, who sought to have a new certificate issued with their names as parents as is standard practice for Louisiana-born children adopted by opposite-sex married couples. On July 11, 2011, Lambda Legal, representing the plaintiffs in the case, Adar v. Smith, asked the Supreme Court to review the case.
Discrimination protections concerning employment within the state were allowed to expire in 2008.
Hate crimes law
Louisiana is one of the few southern states which has a hate crime law that provides for penalty enhancements for crimes motivated by the victim's sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Passed in 1997, after a lobbying effort of five years, its passage made Louisiana the first state in the Deep South to have such a law. It does not cover gender identity.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor in June 2013 invalidating Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. Department of Defense issued directives requiring state units of the National Guard to enroll the same-sex spouses of guard members in federal benefit programs. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on October 31 said he would insist on compliance. On December 3, Louisiana agreed to conform with DoD policy stating that state workers would be considered federal workers while enrolling same-sex couples for benefits.
A February 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 29% of Louisiana voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 59% thought it should be illegal and 12% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 54% of respondents supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 25% supporting same-sex marriage, 29% supporting civil unions, 41% opposing all legal recognition and 5% not sure.
An August 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that 28% of Louisiana voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 63% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 56% of respondents supported legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 23% supporting same-sex marriage, 33% supporting civil unions, 40% opposing all legal recognition and 4% not sure.
A 2013 LSU Public Policy Research Lab survey found that the overwhelming majority of people in the state believe that transgender and gay communities deserve equal protection under the law. The survey was commissioned, written, and sponsored by the groups Capital City Alliance, Equality Louisiana, and Louisiana Progress. The results showed that 89% of participants said schools should protect gay and transgender students from bullying and harassment, 93.7% of participants said people should not be evicted or denied housing because they are gay or transgender, 89.3% of participants said employers other than churches or religious organizations should not be able to fire employees because they are gay or transgender.
A February–March 2013 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. It also found that 47% support civil unions, 49% oppose, 4.1% don't know. In terms of regional differences, New Orleans is most supportive of same-sex marriage (58%) while Southwest Louisiana (29%) and North Louisiana (32%) are less supportive. There is also generational differences, with 54% of 18-34 year old Louisianians supporting same-sex marriage, but only 26% support among Louisianians 65 years and older. In terms of partisan difference, 50% of independents support same-sex marriage, while 48% of Democrats support same-sex marriage with 48% opposing, and 17% of Republicans support same-sex marriage with 80% opposing.
A February 2014 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. It also found that 49.8% support civil unions, 43.4% oppose, 1.4% refused to answer, and 5.4% don't know. It also asked that, regardless of their own personal view on same-sex marriage, whether they think it will eventually be legalized in Louisiana. It found that 67% believe same-sex marriage will eventually be legalized, 27.5% said it will not be legalized, 03% refused to answer, and 51.% don't know. In terms of regional differences, New Orleans is most supportive of same-sex marriage (58%) while Southwest Louisiana (36%) and North Louisiana (29%) are less supportive. There is also generational differences, with 60% of 18-24 year old Louisianians supporting same-sex marriage, but only 28% support among Louisianians 65 years and older. In terms of partisan difference, 48% of independents, 46% of Democrats, and 23% of Republicans support same-sex marriage.
An April 2014 Harper Polling survey found that 21% of Louisiana voters thought that same-sex marriage should be legal, while 60% thought it should be illegal and 19% were not sure.
- Politics of Louisiana
- LGBT rights in the United States
- Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States
- New York Times: "Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Law Banning Sodomy," June 26, 2003. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- Samuels, Diana (July 28, 2013). "East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office plans to change practices, after report says deputies were ensnaring gay men". Times-Picayune. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- O'Donoghue, Julia (April 15, 2014). "Louisiana House votes 27-66 to keep unconstitutional anti-sodomy law on the books". Times-Picayune. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- "Same-sex marriage in Louisiana". Marriage.about.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- La. C.C. arts. 89, 3520
- Barnett, Kyle (August 2, 2013). "Louisiana Attorney General sued by gay man seeking to have marriage recognized". Louisiana Record. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
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- Trotter, Darian (February 12, 2014). "Gay & Lesbian Couples Sue For Marriage Equality". WGNO. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- Human Rights Campaign: Louisiana Adoption Law . Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- NOLA: "Gay dads lose appeal in Louisiana birth certificate case," April 12, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- Wall Street Journal: July 11, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- "Louisiana gov. drops gay anti-discrimination order". 365gay.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Tully, Carol T. "Serving Diverse Constituencies: Applying the Ecological Perspectives". Accessed October 28, 2013.
- "Hate Crimes Bill Out Of Committee With 'Sexual Orientation' Intact," May 1997, Ambush Magazine, Accessed December 23, 2013.
- Johnson, Chris (October 31, 2013). "Hagel to direct nat’l guards to offer same-sex benefits". Washington Blade. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- Johnson, Chris (December 3, 2013). "Louisiana Nat'l Guard latest to process same-sex benefits". Washington Blade. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
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- Louisiana Supports Fair Treatment for All: Statewide Polling Summary
- THE PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH LAB
- "2014 Louisiana survey". Public Policy Research Lab. April 2014.
- Louisiana Senate Poll