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Louisiana begins issuing marriage licenses to gay couples

It took a few days, but Louisiana has now begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On Friday, June 26, when the Supreme Court ruled marriage between same-sex people legal in all states, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said that he “found nothing in today’s decision that makes the Court’s order effective immediately.” Meanwhile, the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association told city and parish clerks to hold off issuing marriage licenses to gay couples for 25 days to allow the state time to file an appeal.

On Sunday, June 28, Gov. Bobby Jindal, appearing on “Meet the Press,” said, “We don’t have a choice but to comply, even though I think this decision was the wrong one.” He acknowledged that it would be just “a matter of days” before licenses would be issued.

The first Louisiana marriage license for a same-sex couple is believed to be the one granted in Jefferson Parish to a couple who has been together since 2001. The two men were married in New Orleans in front of friends and colleagues.

The Supreme Court ruling does not necessarily solve all problems for same-sex couples in Louisiana. In a state where only 42 percent of residents say they support gay marriage (compared to 57 of people nationwide) and voters approved a constitutional amendment banning marriages between same-sex couples in 2004, there will likely still be challenges. Some states have forbidden adoption or fostering by same-sex couples or allowed adoption agencies to deny a couple’s request to adopt a child based on the agency’s religious beliefs. It remains to be seen what will happen in Louisiana.

With Louisiana same-sex couples now being allowed to marry, they may want to consider things like prenuptial agreements, adoption (whether of their spouse’s child or a child that they adopt together) and other legal issues that are part of marriage and building a family. Family law attorneys can assist with these matters and also provide guidance to couples who believe that their rights under the law are being violated.

Source: TIME Magazine, “The Last Holdout Has Now Issued Gay Marriage Licenses,” Jacob Koffler, June 29, 2015

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