08/13 - Gay in Louisiana

Does Louisiana’s current position on gay marriage affect its “quality of life” and threaten the recruitment of employers?

June’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act will allow some federal benefits for same-sex couples that were legally married elsewhere but live in Louisiana. Otherwise, the decision will have little immediate impact in the state. Louisiana passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman and denies the recognition of gay unions. In light of the High Court’s decision, could Louisiana’s Defense of Marriage amendment be challenged? Does Louisiana’s current position on gay marriage affect its “quality of life” and threaten the recruitment of employers to the state? And do legislative attempts to outlaw workplace discrimination against gays in Louisiana achieve equal protection or create special rights at the expense of another’s religious freedom? Louisiana Public Square pursues the answers to these questions and more when it explores the issues involved when you’re “Gay in Louisiana.”

Wednesday, August 28, at 7PM

Backgrounder

On June 26th, by a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) found that the Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by states, is unconstitutional. "By …treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment." Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.

So, what does this ruling mean for Louisiana’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between “one man and one woman”? Could this law now be challenged? Does Louisiana’s current position on gay marriage affect its quality of life and threaten the recruitment of employers to the state? Do legislative attempts to outlaw workplace discrimination against gays achieve equal protection or create special rights for one group at the expense of another’s religious freedom? Louisiana Public Square pursues answers to these questions and more on “Gay in Louisiana.”

...Read Full Backgrounder

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Our Panelists:

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.


I think the ongoing debacle within the sheriff’s department concerning the unlawful entrapment and arrest of gay men should illustrate that federal law cannot be ignored. Therefore, I believe that eventually, Louisiana’s “Defense of Marriage Amendment” will be successfully challenged and struck down.

Granting same sex couples the right to marry will in no way infringe on any other person’s freedom of religion. If your religion forbids marrying someone of the same sex, then you will remain free NOT to. You may continue to practice your religion as your conscience dictates.

I truly wish Louisiana would come into the 21st century. So much of the rest of the country views the state as backwards, and as much as I hate to say it, we have rightfully earned that reputation.

Posted by Jeff  on  07/29  at  03:18 PM

I believe in equality for all!!

Posted by Cynthia Price  on  08/26  at  08:30 PM

In my opinion Sibley is dangerous.

Posted by Barbara Conner  on  08/27  at  06:16 PM

I feel like the survey provided by this website is skewed because the larger portion of the survey-takers share liberal ideals.  I mean, I’m liberal myself, but basic human rights shouldn’t be seen as something that can only be afforded to the select few, and this shouldn’t be an issue that the majority decides.  That is pretty messed up.

Also I worry about a selection of panelists with no obvious tie-ins to the LGBTQ+ community.  And where are the women?

I’d also like to ask that you refer to the topic as same-sex marriage as limiting marriage to straight couples and gay couples would only make the issue more convoluted.

Posted by Irrelevant, but you should know I'm a minority.  on  08/27  at  07:13 PM

I was denied employment in the housing department of a major Texas University after working, and being successful, in that department for three years. The decision seemed to be based on the religious beliefs of my supervisor’s supervisor. His religion told him that being gay was unacceptable (my religious beliefs would not be considered in the decision). It was disparaging, disappointing, and ultimately caused the failure of a relationship.

Point being, if we accommodate religious belief into public policy and allow discrimination based on those religious beliefs, without tempering it with scientific data, then we stand to loose many competent individuals and innovative companies to other states. Fortune 500 companies have seen that, in order to be competitive in today’s marketplace, you have to have the best people. And, if many of their best people do not feel comfortable setting up shop in our state, you can bet that the company will locate elsewhere.

And, as an experiment/hypothetical, ask religious leaders if they would mind if, in a small town far removed from other resources, a local businessperson stated to one of the leader’s congregation that, because of the faith of the business owner, that s/he would not be able to serve the members of that congregation due to their belief that those members were “not serving the true god” and their dogma indicated that the owner of that business would be put into eternal damnation if they were to do so. “No, can’t do it. My religion has informed my beliefs and you will just have to drive to Said City (80 miles away) to obtain that,” s/he informs the individual. Yes, it is against the law to discriminate on publicly offered goods and services on the basis of religion (and no, it is NOT a special right they were afforded, it was a CIVIL right). But imagine that wasn’t so. Is it right to do something like that, to deny a good or service because someone believes differently? Yet, that is what religious leaders claim the right to do. It is not appropriate from an ethical standpoint, and they would never consider giving up the right to be equally treated in their day to day dealings with the world around them.

I’m sorry this is so long. I DO appreciate you bringing this subject to the Public Square.

Posted by Scott Lumry  on  08/27  at  07:37 PM

Replying to the poster who gave the name “irrelevant, but you should know I’m a minority”
- Re the survey responses being skewed: The survey is promoted through social media and eblasts. We have no control over takes the survey, only the way the questions are written.
- Re panelists with no obvious tie-ins to the LGBT community: John Denison, is the chair of the Forum for Equality Foundation, a statewide gay rights advocacy group and an openly gay man.
- Re “where are the women?” on the panel - Up until this morning, Heather Doss with the Louisiana Commission for Marriage and Family was scheduled to appear as a panelist but had to cancel due to laryngitis. Many thanks for Sen. Dan Claitor for stepping in and offering the perspective of a lawmaker.

Posted by Louisiana Public Square  on  08/27  at  09:00 PM

To reply to the defense you put up LPS:

I didn’t mean to criticize your work—I understand that you have no control over the audience you receive who is wiling to participate in a survey.  If anything, this could be commenting on how residents of Louisiana are becoming more progressive, but I apologize if I directed the blame toward you for this.

As for my point about the panelists, I guess I overlooked his position when I saw his name in the list.  That is my bad entirely.  Again, I am certain that you at the lPB and LPS do your best to organize and produce news forums such as this to be well-rounded and unbiased.  I apologize again for casting any blame on your organization.

Posted by The minority guy from before  on  08/27  at  11:27 PM

I mentioned this on Facebook, but I kept wondering what the fuss is about. Many transsexuals have been able to marry legally for decades (even though they are biologically male or female). When Edwin Edwards was governor it was even easier to change your documents without ever having the surgery. I wish someone would have asked Father Sibley this when it kept referring to the masculine and feminine as being the ideal in marriage: And I assume he was talking about genetic men and genetic women ONLY!

Posted by Zuba  on  08/28  at  07:47 PM

Thank you, LPB, for producing Public Square - a program that Louisianans are fortunate to have a forum that fosters enlightening discussions about tonight’s topic and others. Many thanks also to Craig, Beth and the entire production crew.

Forum for Equality Foundation’s mission and purpose is to achieve full equality for Louisiana’s LGBT persons by educating our state’s citizens about issues affecting the LGBT community, advocating for fair and equal treatment of LGBT citizens and promoting the health and well being of the LGBT community.

Our activities are conducted by both LGBT persons and straight allies. The foundation is supported through individual donations, grants and corporate sponsorship.

I welcome your feedback and Forum support. Learn more about us at forumforequality.org

Posted by John Denison  on  08/28  at  07:58 PM

In response to Barbara Conner’s post calling Fr. Sibley “dangerous.”

About 8 years ago, I was there when Fr. Sibley debated Dr. Rick Swanson, a UL political science professor, on the topic of gay marriage.

During the audience Q and A after the debate, a UL professor named Barbara Conner became highly irate at Fr. Sibley’s comments and charged the stage in an angry, histrionic outburst.

She had to be subsequently restrained by the head of the philosophy department, Dr. Keith Korcz. He brought her to her seat and sat next to her and would not allow her to speak again.

Fr. Sibley kept his composure and the dialogue continued with the audience.

If this is the same Barbara Conner who is commenting (and it might not be), I would say it is highly ironic that she is calling him “dangerous” when she was the one who got violent at that debate and had to be restrained.

Regardless, this is an ad hominem attack. Not only does she not give a reason for him being “dangerous” but she attacks him rather than the arguments he makes in this public forum discussion. Poor logic.

Posted by A UL Alum  on  08/29  at  03:13 PM

The problem here is that America is not calling a spade a spade. The word Gay means happy . It should not be used to dEscribe homosexuals or sodomites in any way form or fasHion. Biblically this is a Sin, and abomination against God and nature. These people scripturally should be put to death but you sit here and discuss giving them rights to legally persue their own perverted lusts because of money or political gain? When the wrath of God comes against this nation how will you justify this total rebellion against the All Mighty God? It will be too late just as it was for Israel in the days of the prophet Jerimiah. Jerimiah chap. 15-25. Be warned against this evil I have told you all Repent before it’s too late the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

Posted by yusef chew  on  08/29  at  04:58 PM

thank you john for ure help in the fight for our freedom and equality.In La.gays have no freedom.I have a husband of thee years and we can’t marry in la.I take care of my sick father.We plan to leave the state after he passes.I pray the u.s.a never is goverended by any religious group,if so we become the same as the other countries ruled by crazy ,evil,dictators.Our churches have destroyed us as people,and control our lives..I am a Christian ,a minister,and pray no church takes away our gay rights..thanks again for ure help…Rev.D.Touchet

Posted by d. touchet  on  09/04  at  09:31 AM

I want to comment on the lpb news I saw and heard about gay marriages on September 6, 2013. I am appalled at what I heard. If more people of this world would follow God’s laws and read their bibles we would live in a better society and world. We are to follow the laws here on earth so why is it so difficult to follow our God’s laws? He is our father the maker of heaven and earth. People will be judged in due time!

Posted by bridget breaux  on  09/09  at  12:30 PM
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