“If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”
Sometimes the question of where to start is not so easily resolved. The essential point to remember is that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, perhaps hoping to impress conservative voters as he prepares a 2016 Republican presidential nomination bid, has seemingly run out of room to maneuver against marriage equality. Yesterday’s ruling in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was the third, and yet Mr. Jindal still desperately seeks to delay:
But while Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration previously had said it was waiting on that 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling before recognizing same-sex marriages, top state officials dug in their heels Wednesday and said they wouldn’t change course until a district court orders them to do so.
That only widens the gap between the administration and the reality on the ground across the state. Clerks or other officials in nearly all parishes have now said they will issue licenses to same-sex couples, even as Jindal administration officials continue to tell state agencies to hold off on accepting them as valid.
The administration’s delay in accepting the Supreme Court’s ruling may be behind another point of conflict that cropped up on Wednesday as members of newly married same-sex couples seeking to change the name on their driver’s licenses to reflect their union found their efforts thwarted by the Office of Motor Vehicles.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit appeared to address the administration’s stalling.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is “the law of the land and, consequently, the law of this circuit and should not be taken lightly by actors within the jurisdiction of this court,” the ruling said.
“We express no view on how controversies involving the intersection of these rights should be resolved but instead leave that to the robust operation of our system of laws and the good faith of those who are impacted by them.”
The panel then ordered district judges who have overseen cases involving same-sex marriage, including U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman in New Orleans, to issue final judgments in their cases legalizing and recognizing same-sex marriage by July 17.
Normally that ruling, and any judgments that come from the lower courts, would be largely procedural measures now that the Supreme Court has decided the issue. And, indeed, that’s how they have been treated in most of the country, where clerks began issuing licenses immediately after Friday’s ruling.
But Jindal administration officials have said they won’t comply until forced to do so. While they initially pointed to the 5th Circuit’s decision as the event that would fully grant gay marriage rights in Louisiana, they changed course after the ruling was handed down and said they would continue to follow the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriages until forced to do so by a lower court.
So, yeah. That’s what is going on in Louisiana. And, you know, there comes a point where this isn’t about anything else than sheer petulant malice.
Or, as Bobby Jindal is wont to call it, leadership.
Image note: Republican Governor of Louisiana Bobby Jindal speaks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition’s forum in Waukee, Iowa, April 25, 2015. (Photo by Jim Young/Reuters)
Hensch, Mark. “Jindal: ‘Let’s just get rid of the court'”. The Hill. 26 June 2015.
Adelson, Jeff and Marsha Shuler. “5th Circuit Court tells Louisiana to recognize same-sex marriages; Jindal administration still balks”. The Advocate. 2 July 2015.