With the United States Supreme Court ruling Friday that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, Webster Parish Clerk of Court Holli Vining says her office will not be issuing the licenses until they have heard from legal counsel.
“I’m not going to be issuing any (same sex marriage) licenses until further advice from the attorney general,” she said. “At this time, he’s issued a statement saying that there’s no effective date in the Supreme Court ruling. So we’re just waiting for advice from legal counsel.”
Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell issued a statement following the ruling, saying he was disappointed by the decision, saying, “it fails to respect traditional marriage as defined by Louisiana voters, and is yet another example of the federal government intrusion into what should be a state issue.”
He goes on to say that his office has found nothing in Friday’s ruling that makes the court order effective immediately.
“Therefore, there is not yet a legal requirement for officials to issue marriage licenses or perform marriages for same-sex couples in Louisiana,” his statement reads. “The Attorney General’s Office will be watching for the court to issue a mandate or order making (Friday’s) decision final and effective and will issue a statement when that occurs.”
Vining says the Webster Parish Clerk of Court’s Office will follow the law.
“There’s a 25 day rehearing period, where the ruling can be questioned,” she said. “We just want to make sure we are within the legal bounds of the law; we’ll do whatever the law tells us to do.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement, calling Friday’s ruling an “assault on religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision.”
“The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution,” he said. “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that…The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious believes about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.”
The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the south and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same sex marriages. In 36 states, same-sex marriage was already legal.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court’s previous three major gay right cases dating back to 1996. It came on the anniversary of two of those earlier decisions.
“No union is more profound than marriage,” Kennedy wrote. The stories of the people asking for the right to marry “reveal that they seek not to denigrate marriage but rather to live their lives, or honor their spouses’ memory, joined by its bond.”
Kennedy went on to say nothing in the court’s ruling would force religions to condone, much less perform, weddings to which they object.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.