WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Wednesday afternoon directed the district courts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to issue final orders ending enforcement of the states' respective bans on same-sex couples' marriages.
In the Texas case, in which the trial court had struck down the ban, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Judge Jerry E. Smith, wrote that "the injunction appealed from is correct in light of Obergefell, the preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED."
In the Louisiana case, in which the trial court had upheld the ban, the appeals court, in a second opinion by Judge Smith, wrote that "the judgment appealed from is REVERSED, and this matter is REMANDED for entry of judgment in favor of the plaintiffs." Notably, Smith added: "The district court must act expeditiously on remand, especially in view of the declining health of plaintiff Robert Welles," a plaintiff in the case.
In the Mississippi case, in which the trial court had struck down the ban and refused to issue a stay of the ruling during the state's appeal — leading the appeals court to issue a stay — the court stated that "the injunction appealed from is correct in light of Obergefell" and, therefore, "the preliminary injunction is AFFIRMED." It also lifted its earlier stay of the district court's ruling.
The Mississippi opinion came last, likely a result of the fact that Gov. Phil Bryant initially had said he opposed the plaintiffs' motion to put a quick end to the case after the June 26 Supreme Court ruling striking down marriage bans.
In all three cases, the appeals court ordered the trial courts to act on the final resolution of the cases "by July 17, 2015, and earlier if reasonably possible."
U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves, overseeing the Mississippi marriage challenge, issued his permanent injunction and final judgment in the case, barring the state from enforcing its marriage ban.
U.S. District Court Judge Orlando Garcia, overseeing the Texas marriage challenge, had issued a stay of his preliminary injunction previously; he lifted that stay on June 26.
Nothing yet from U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, who upheld Louisiana's marriage ban — one of only two district court judges to do so after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act's ban on federal recognition of same-sex couples' marriages in June 2013.
U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman, overseeing the Louisiana marriage challenge, issued judgment in the case — ordering that the marriage ban is unenforceable and that his prior decision upholding the ban be "recalled and rescinded."
Specifically, he ordered that "this Court's Order and Reasons and the accompanying Judgment dated September 3, 2014, are hereby recalled and rescinded."