Originally published on Advocate.com August 09 2004 11:00 PM ET
A lawsuit challenging a measure that would lock a same-sex marriage ban into Louisiana's constitution was set for a hearing Tuesday morning in civil court. The suit was filed in state court Friday on the grounds that it was illegally approved by the state legislature and should be kept off the September 18 ballot.
The proposed constitutional amendment includes language that would ban civil unions and still other language that could be interpreted as outlawing the extension of domestic-partnership benefits to unmarried couples. That, said attorney Randy Evans, means the legislation is drawn up for more than one purpose--a "multiple objective" forbidden in legislation by the state constitution.
Plaintiffs identified in the suit include a man who opposes government recognition of same-sex marriage but strongly favors government recognition of same-sex civil unions. Other plaintiffs include a gay man who said the amendment could outlaw existing legal contracts governing his relationship with his partner and a lesbian who is afraid the amendment could affect her legal contractual relationship with her lesbian partner and their children.
Aside from the "multiple object" complaint, the lawsuit says that the proposed amendment should be kept off the ballot because it would deny some Louisiana residents rights that the state constitution now defines as "inalienable" and "inviolate," including the right to equal protection under the law and the right to control one's own property.
The suit also contends that the proposed amendment was altered so much during the legislative process that it, in effect, failed to meet the legal requirement that all constitutional amendments be filed at least 10 days before a legislative session begins.