Louisiana Effects: Defense of Marriage Act & Prop 8 decisions

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Louisiana’s constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage will not be affected by the Supreme Court’s decisions about DOMA and Prop 8, at least, not for now, but many gay couples in Louisiana will now be able to get federal benefits that were previously given only to heterosexual married couples.

Vatican Lokey, who lives in Metairie with his same-sex partner of 21 years, gave a triumphant fist-pump when the decision was announced Wednesday morning.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling ends DOMA (the federal law that says gay couples that marry in states where it’s legal still cannot get official recognition).

Now, even those in the New Orleans gay community who go to another state to get married will still be able to file joint tax returns and have privileges like hospital visitation rights with their partners when they come back to Louisiana.

“I’m ecstatic that DOMA has finally been repealed,” Lokey said. “And the language that the justices used that DOMA was originally put in place to demean gay people and to reduce their equality in the eyes of so many people. It’s a strong ruling.”

But a second decision by the high court is more of a mixed bag.  In effect, the Supreme Court said it had no legal standing to decide the fate of California’s Prop 8, which bans gay marriage in that state.  That decision will have no real, immediate effect in Louisiana.

“It’s going to make it much more difficult for lawmakers who want to continue to enforce this type of discrimination,” Lokey believes. “It’s going to make it more difficult for them to push that type of legislation through.”

Some gay rights leaders expect a rush of Louisiana gay couples travelling to states that permit gay marriage, now that the high court has struck down the Defense Of Marriage Act.