Quantcast

Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Shreveport couple challenges Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban

Posted: Updated:
SHREVEPORT, La -

A Shreveport lawyer and his partner are one of four Shreveport couples challenging Louisiana's constitution that prohibits same-sex marriages.

The announcement, organized by the Forum for Equality Louisiana, was made Wednesday morning in New Orleans.

Havard Scott, now of Shreveport, formerly worked as a partner at a large New Orleans-based law firm. His partner, Sergio March Prieto, a citizen of Spain and a U.S. permanent resident, is a singer and actor who has appeared in movies filmed in the Shreveport area, in other parts of the country and Spain.

By early afternoon, defenders of the same-sex prohibition voiced their objections to the lawsuit. Shreveport attorney Mike Johnson called the federal lawsuit meritless.

"The plaintiffs know full well that our courts have already examined this state's law in detail, and our Louisiana Supreme Court ruled unanimously that our constitutional amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman is valid and appropriate," Johnson said in an emailed statement. Johnson said this  is the second attempt to invalidate the Louisiana law which he helped defend a decade ago. The "Defense of Marriage Amendment" was approved by almost of 78 percent of voters in 2004.

Scott and Prieto moved to Shreveport in 2003 to care for Scott's mother, who had been

diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. In 2000, Scott and Prieto had traveled to Vermont and entered into a civil union. After that state legalized marriage for same-sex couples, they returned to Vermont in 2010 and celebrated their marriage.

Prior to the Supreme Court's announcement of the Windsor decision, Sergio received permission from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to remain in the United States based on his employment. After Windsor was announced, CIS reviewed immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse. Sergio received notice he would receive a Green Card to remain in the U.S.  based on his status as Scott's spouse.

Despite the recognition of Scott and Prieto's marriage by federal immigration authorities, Louisiana refuses to recognize the validity of their Vermont marriage.

"We are fortunate to live in Shreveport, which like New Orleans, grants comprehensive employment, housing and public accommodations to its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens," Scott said in a prepared statement. "It's notable that Shreveport, a conservative North Louisiana city, is far more advanced than the State of Louisiana, which treats its LGBT citizens as badly as any state possibly can."

The Shreveport City Council recently expanded the city's workplace anti-discrimination ordinance with only one dissenting vote.

Before the Immigration Service granted Prieto a green card based on his performance work, Scott and Prieto went to Spain. "When we returned, we got hassled at the Atlanta airport. The Immigration officers searched him," Scott said.  "When they found a picture of us with my arm around him, they asked him if I was his boyfriend. He was denied entry and had to return to Spain. It went to the fact that he was gay."

The federal government, after the Windsor decision, extended spousal rights to all same-sex married couples, regardless of the state of their residence.

"I literally received my Green Card as a spouse of an American," Prieto said. "We were ecstatic."

"We are professional people and pay a lot of taxes to our government," Scott said.  "Our government should treat us equally."

 Despite the recognition of their marriage by federal authorities, the Forum for Equality's announcement says the state of Louisiana refuses to recognize the validity of their marriage, will not permit them to claim married status for purpose of state income taxes, nor do they have the presumptive right to make basic decisions on each other's behalf, including funeral plans.

Johnson said the law did not seek to impose some disadvantage on same-sex couples.

"There is zero evidence in Louisiana that our Defense of Marriage Amendment was motivated by anything other than our citizens' legitimate concerns about defending our civil tradition of marriage—for all of the myriad benefits that it provides to children and our society as a whole," said Johnson. "In fact, the Louisiana Supreme Court specifically stated in 2005 that ‘emotions [did] not govern our resolution of this case,' and ‘[a]though a "same-sex marriage ban" is effected by the provisions of the constitutional amendment, the ban itself is not the main purpose or object of the amendment."

The announcement is the latest in a series of significant events related to gay causes that have played out over the past week:

 --  Late last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that gay Americans would be given the same rights as heterosexual couples when filing bankruptcy, testifying in federal court or visiting partners in federal prison.

--  On Sunday, a standout defensive end from the University of Missouri, Michael Sam, announced that he was gay – setting the stage for him to become the first openly gay lineman in the NFL.

--  On the world stage,  a gay-rights theme simmers beneath the competition at the Winter Olympics in Russia. In June President Vladimir Putin signed into law a ban against the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships. The anti-gay sentiment prompted protests and President Barack Obama to include former gay athletes in the official U.S. delegation sent to the games in Sochi.

 

  • KTBS 3 InvestigatesMore>>

  • KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:13 GMT
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
  • Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:28 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:28:29 GMT
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
  • Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:14:50 GMT
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:51 AM EDT2014-07-28 14:51:53 GMT
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
  • Bossier's 30th Young Marines class graduates

    Bossier's 30th Young Marines class graduates

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:33 AM EDT2014-07-28 12:33:50 GMT
    Photo courtesy Allen J.M. Smith, BPSOPhoto courtesy Allen J.M. Smith, BPSO
    Twenty-nine recruits ranging from eight years old to teen years earned the title as Bossier Sheriff's Young Marines as Class 30 graduated in front of a packed house of 200 people Friday night at the Bossier Sheriff's Substation in Bossier City.
    Twenty-nine recruits ranging from eight years old to teen years earned the title as Bossier Sheriff's Young Marines as Class 30 graduated in front of a packed house of 200 people Friday night at the Bossier Sheriff's Substation in Bossier City.
  • KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home opens for public tours

    KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home opens for public tours

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:24 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:24:04 GMT
    KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home photos courtesy of Courtney Avery.KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home photos courtesy of Courtney Avery.
    The 2014 KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home is now open for weekend tours.
    The 2014 KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home is now open for weekend tours.
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Beating "Back to School" stress in students

    Beating "Back to School" stress in students

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:03:54 GMT
    Saying goodbye to summer is hard for most of us. But if you're a kid coming back from summer break looking towards the school year, the next couple of weeks could be tough. 
    Saying goodbye to summer is hard for most of us. But if you're a kid coming back from summer break looking towards the school year, the next couple of weeks could be tough. 
  • Do your part & help "Stuff the Bus"

    Do your part & help "Stuff the Bus"

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:33 AM EDT2014-07-30 11:33:12 GMT
    Your generous donations continue to roll in for our Operation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign.Today the bus, which we plan to stuff with much needed school supplies, will be parked at Whataburger on Bert Kouns near Youree Drive from 9am-3pm.
    Your generous donations continue to roll in for our Operation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign.Today the bus, which we plan to stuff with much needed school supplies, will be parked at Whataburger on Bert Kouns near Youree Drive from 9am-3pm.
  • School bus safety

    School bus safety

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:28 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:28:19 GMT

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school.

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school.

  • NationalMore>>

  • NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:52 AM EDT2014-07-31 06:52:16 GMT
    The NCAA has agreed to settle a class-action head injury lawsuit by creating a $70 million fund to diagnose thousands of current and former college athletes to determine if they suffered brain trauma playing...
    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports' governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn't go...
  • 5 food writers subpoenaed in 'pink slime' lawsuit

    5 food writers subpoenaed in 'pink slime' lawsuit

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:51 AM EDT2014-07-31 06:51:12 GMT
    Several food writers, including a New York Times reporter, have been subpoenaed as part of a company's $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC related to the network's coverage of a meat product derided...
    Several food writers, including a New York Times reporter, have been subpoenaed by a meat producer as part of its $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit against ABC in regards to the network's coverage of a beef product...
  • Century-old pipe break points to national problem

    Century-old pipe break points to national problem

    Thursday, July 31 2014 2:35 AM EDT2014-07-31 06:35:13 GMT
    The quiet summer campus of UCLA found itself suddenly steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some eight million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the...
    The rupture of a nearly century-old water main that ripped a 15-foot hole through Sunset Boulevard and turned a swath of the University of California, Los Angeles, into a mucky mess points to the risks and expense many...
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File