Gay Marriage In La?

I guess it can’t hurt to try:

A gay couple in New Orleans is suing over being denied a marriage license in Louisiana, claiming their rights are being violated by a state constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.

Kristoffer Bonilla, 33, and John Thomas Wray, 18, are asking a federal judge to strike down the constitutional amendment, which lawmakers and voters overwhelmingly approved in 2004.

A few thoughts . . .

First, these two sure don’t look like very sympathetic plaintiffs. Thirty three and eighteen? Gay or straight, that’s prima facia wrong, even if legal. It’s also ammunition for opponents of equality: “See, give the gays the right to marry and the next step will be legalized child abuse!” Maybe things are o.k., but I wish these two had considered this and let some other couple file the suit.

Second, the argument is interesting:

The men filed the lawsuit against several state and local officials on April 2, the same day they said they were denied a marriage license. It claims the state’s marriage amendment violates the First Amendment “by curtailing the right to marry based upon a religious interpretation of the nature and purpose of marriage itself.”

“By failing to articulate a legitimate, compelling and secular interest for the restriction on marriage, the state has necessarily established a wholly religious civil institution,” it says.

There is no valid secular reason to oppose gay marriage. There’s plenty of smokescreens, for instance the argument that we can’t let gays marry because the only reason for marriage is children. But no one really believes that, otherwise we would not let post-menopausal women or infertile men marry. That argument is simply a pretext for “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

Still, even if the plaintiffs manage to prove the negative – there is no secular reason for banning gay marriage – they still have to show that this violates the establishment clause. In other words, the amendment didn’t create a state church or benefit any particular religious group. All it did was change a civil law, but do so for a religious reason. While basing civil laws on religious doctrine is bad policy, I’m not sure it would violate the Constitution.

Of course, I’m assuming anyone will actually read the arguments. In this part of the country, even in federal court, that’s a HUGE assumption. What’s more likely to happen is that the judges will spend the entire procedure looking for the most convenient way to dismiss the suit. The merits won’t even occur to them. That’s a shame, because these are interesting arguments.

Third observation, and a civics lesson, too. This amendment was challenged in state court just after it was passed. The state supremes upheld it. Now the opponents of the new case are already trying to use the old one to muddy the waters:

Alliance Defense Fund attorney Mike Johnson, who argued for the [state constitution anti-marriage] amendment when the [state] Supreme Court heard the case, called the new lawsuit frivolous.

“Our marriage amendment is comprehensive in its scope and definitive in its meaning, and there’s no question that our state Supreme Court has upheld it,” he said.

All true, and all completely irrelevant to the current case. It does not matter how clearly our state constitution expresses our state’s bigotry and ignorance. If our state constitution conflicts with the federal constitution, that part of our state constitution goes buh-bye.

Mike Johnson is an attorney, he knows that. He’s intentionally misleading people. But I guess dishonesty for Jesus is o.k. Anyway, I doubt it will happen in this case, but here’s hoping Louisiana will soon be rid of not only the anti-marriage amendment, but Mike Johnson, the ADF and similar buttholes as well.

Explore posts in the same categories: God and Government, The Homosexual Agenda

3 Comments on “Gay Marriage In La?”

  1. KC Says:


    I enjoy the blog, but we’ll just agree to disagree on this,,,while a few courts have disagreed, I think there is a compelling state interest in the traditional family as the building block of society, and while not all heterosexual marriages have kids , the vast majority do.

    My belief is that the “marriage thing” has less to do with marriage than it does with normalizing society’s view of homosexual relations and relationships…(hence the furor of Perez Hilton et al over a beauty contest response)

    Clearly civil unions were just a step to get the camels nose in the tent, but I had no huge problem with that because it wasn’t changing the definition.

    I may be wrong, and “on the wrong side of history”, and if I come to that conclusion some day I will say so…but I fear a rush to change something so important.

    You are absolutly correct on the legal and procedural issues…but I’d expect that based on your history…anyway…thanks for the space to comment!

  2. Kristoffer Bonilla Says:

    In reference to the initial commentary, I have a few points to make:

    1) I’m sorry that you think my relationship is a prima-facie wrong. Your prejudicial assumptions are as bad as Mike Johnson’s [if not worse (His argument has a foundation — his religious views — Yours are unexplained and inexplicable.)]

    2) If you’re worried about our opposition equating marriage equality with pedophilia, I have a suggestion: refute that assumption instead of reiterating it for them.

    3) In regards to our role as plaintiffs, I have a few questions:
    1) Who are these perfect plaintiffs?
    2) When were they going to file their lawsuit?
    3) Why don’t they join ours?

    4) Our complaint includes more than just an Establishment Clause argument. Please read it.

    5) Their is a fundamental difference between a law being informed by Biblical canons versus one that is shaped by it entirely. For example, our laws against murder (not homicide) are informed by that famous Commandment, “Thou shall not kill;” but hardly mirror its sweeping proscription. Moreover, there is a COHERENT secular interest in preventing human beings from killing each other without justification. The foundation for marriage inequality is strained without an explicit or implicit religious underpinning.

    6) I can only hope your distrust of the American judiciary is unfounded. I have a little more faith in our democracy. I may be naive, but I am willing to try. We are on the right side of history. Hopefully those presiding over our fate will be compelled by the chance to side inevitable victory. Would you rather be remembered for penning the Plessy decision or Brown? It’s a no-brainer.

    7) Mike Johnson is wrong. That’s not an excuse to resort to name-calling. Even if they resort to dirty tactics, we can prevail because our substantive arguments are IRREFUTABLE. Let’s stay above the fray. Wouldn’t it be nice to both prevail in court and teach the ADF a lesson in Christianity as well?

  3. Wheeler Says:

    thanks for commenting.

    i need to say first – in case it wasn’t clear – that i agree with your substantive arguments. as a guy who majored in theology at a baptist school, spent a year in divinity school, did very well in con law in law school, read all the cases about gay marriage, thinks very highly of his gay relatives and friends and also thinks very highly of his ultra conservative baptist friends, i think gay marriage is constitutionally correct AND a good idea.

    that said . . .

    1) as a thirty three year old person who regularly interacts with teenagers (i’m a teacher), i can tell you that in general there are huge emotional, intellectual and developmental differences between the two. in general, i seriously doubt the health of any romantic relationship between the two ages. i’m not alone; society generally forbids those relationships when the teen is under 18. sure, in your case the younger partner is 18, but am i really as bad as mike johnson for doubting the health of the relationship? i’m not concluding anything, but i think my skepticism is justified.

    2. no doubt they are wrong. i’m talking practical politics and the fact that you have to defend yourself to your supporters is evidence i’m right.

    3. you want that alphabetically? seriously, i understand that this is an individual choice. i just wish we had more sympathetic plaintiffs. nothing i can do about it, though.

    4. no doubt it does. that’s the one that interested me.

    5. no doubt there is. it’s hard to draw the line, though. it’s also hard to know a legislator’s true motives. like i said, however, i wish the case would really be litigated so we could see how this one gets answered.

    6. i hope it is, too.

    7. sorry. i call ’em as i see ’em. i am a blogger.

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