“Every day that loving, committed couples in Puerto Rico are denied the dignity and respect of marriage represents one more day in which their families are at risk and the Commonwealth sends a discriminatory message to LGBT people. We won’t stop fighting on their behalf.”
“After years of struggle and the dedicated work of thousands across the movement, we are finally within sight of the day when same-sex couples across the country will be able to share equally in the joys, protections and responsibilities of marriage.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments in Robicheaux v. Caldwell, the appeal challenging Louisiana’s discriminatory marriage ban. The appeal was brought by Forum For Equality Louisiana and seven same-sex Louisiana couples represented by Lambda Legal and New Orleans Attorneys Dalton Courson, Lesli Harris, Scott Spivey and Richard Perque.
Lambda Legal announced that Douglas Hammett-Lair (Doug) started receiving spousal survivor benefits after CNA Financial Corporation amended its retirement plan to allow many surviving same-sex spouses to receive benefits. The change came after Lambda Legal and private counsel Louis Ascherman urged CNA to grant spousal benefits to same-sex couples together for years, if not decades, but only recently able to marry due to discriminatory marriage exclusions.
Yesterday, over a strenuous dissent, two Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals judges upheld discriminatory bans on marriage rights for same-sex couples in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, becoming the first federal circuit court after the Supreme Court’s watershed 2013 Windsor ruling to uphold such bans and departing from recent decisions from the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits.
Although West Virginia’s Attorney General had already conceded that the state’s marriage ban was unconstitutional and marriages began last month, the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia made it official today, ruling in favor of Lambda Legal’s plaintiffs and striking down the discriminatory marriage ban as mandated by the U.S.