Louisiana's Supreme Court has agreed to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling bringing marriage equality to all 50 states, but it's clear at least two of the justices on the state's high court don't agree with that decision — even though only one filed a formal dissent.
In a ruling published Monday, four of the seven justices on the Louisiana Supreme Court joined in the court's opinion that marriage equality is the law of the land in Louisiana, but not before two filed scathing statements laying bare the justices' thoughts on same-sex marriage.
As Zack Ford at ThinkProgress notes, the actual ruling on the case before the court, Costanza v. Caldwell, was a concise three pages, dismissing the case on the grounds that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling for nationwide marriage equality last month effectively struck down Louisiana's marriage ban and rendered the question in Costanza moot.
But even the justices technically concurring with the decision in the case before them had harsh words for the conclusion they were compelled to reach in the wake of last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
1. The Supreme Court's marriage decision will have a "horrific impact" on American democracy and is an insult to the people of Louisiana.
"I concur because I am constrained to follow the rule of law set forth by a majority of the nine lawyers appointed to the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges," wrote Justice Jeannette Theriot Knoll in her concurring statement, noting that she authored the decision from Louisiana's Supreme Court that previously upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
"I write separately to express my views concerning the horrific impact these five lawyers have made on the democratic rights of the American people to define marriage and the rights stemming by operation of law therefrom," she continued. "It is a complete and unnecessary insult to the people of Louisiana who voted on this very issue."
2. The Supreme Court's ruling is "legal fiction," imposed by "five unelected judges" who have made a "mockery" of the Bill of Rights. (But I totally love my gay friends, of course.)
"Moreover, the five unelected judges’ declaration that the right to marry whomever one chooses is a fundamental right is a mockery of those rights explicitly enumerated in our Bill of Rights," continued Justice Knoll. "Simply stated, it is a legal fiction imposed upon the entirety of this nation because these five people think it should be. … While I have many friends in same-sex relationships, I respectfully would not bestow upon them legal rights of marriage as having a child of their physical union is literally impossible. …
"It is a sad day in America when five lawyers beholden to none and appointed for life can rob the people of their democratic process, forcing so-called civil liberties regarding who can marry on all Americans when the issue was decided by the states as solemn expressions of the will of the people. I wholeheartedly disagree and find that, rather than a triumph of constitutionalism, the opinion of these five lawyers is an utter travesty as is my constrained adherence to their 'law of the land' enacted not by the will of the American people but by five judicial activists."
3. The Supreme Court cannot override our "honest convictions" on marriage, which is the "epitome of civilization."
"Judges instruct jurors every week not to surrender their honest convictions merely to reach agreement. I cannot do so now, and respectfully dissent," wrote Justice Jefferson D. Hughes III, the sole dissenter in the Constanza case, who advanced the most spurious claims presented in the 12-page decision;
"Marriage is not only for the parties. Its purpose is to provide children with a safe and stable environment in which to grow. It is the epitome of civilization. Its definition cannot be changed by legalisms. … While the majority opinion of Justice Kennedy leaves it to the various courts and agencies to hash out these issues, I do not concede the reinterpretation of every statute premised upon traditional marriage."
4. Gay people are pedophiles who shouldn't be allowed to adopt children of the same sex.
"This case involves an adoption. The most troubling prospect of same sex marriage is the adoption by same sex partners of a young child of the same sex," Hughes said, alluding to the long-discredited idea of a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia.
"Does the 5-4 decision of the United States Supreme Court automatically legalize this type of adoption?"
5. Yes, state courts are bound by the U.S. Supreme Court. Get over it.
By contrast, Justice Greg G. Guidry, in his concurring opinion, took direct aim at the factual inaccuracies and scare tactics relied upon in Justice Hughes's dissent.
"Judges are bound by oath to follow the law regardless of our personal opinions, and we insist that everyone appearing before us do the same," wrote Guidry. "The dissenting opinion suggests we should not follow the holding of the Supreme Court of the United States. However, it cites no legal authority. It cannot, because there is none to support its position. I am bound by my oath as an elected justice of this state to abide by the rule of law. … In any event, the dissenting opinion cites no legal or scientific authority, nor does the record contain any evidence, that would support its insinuation."
Justice Scott J. Crichton concurred with the opinion "for the reasons set forth by Justice Guidry." Likewise, Justice John L. Weimer took a measured approach, opening his concurring statement with an acknowledgement that "judicial decisions should be guided by the rule of law."
"No constitution or court case can command or convince someone to love, or not love, another. Neither the law generally, nor this case specifically, is capable of dictating such personal matters," Weimer continued. "The apparent and rapid shift in public sentiment on the issue before us has been profound. However, the role of the judiciary is not to weigh shifting public sentiment at any given moment, but to be steadfast in following the law duly enacted by the people and/or their representatives."