now comes the backlash. they just had to push the issue for same sex marriage, so now in a state that already had domestic registration and could designate a partner to receive health insurance benefits and retirement benefits from the city this could all be reversed.

instead of quietly pushing to get more rights as couples a few decided to just slap middle america in the face.

Gay marriage ban passes nearly 4-to-1 By Ed Anderson Capital bureau
Sunday, September 19, 2004

BATON ROUGE -- By an almost 4-to-1 margin, Louisiana voters said yes Saturday to putting a ban on same-sex marriages in the state Constitution.

The amendment, the only statewide issue on the ballot, defines marriage in Louisiana as being solely a "union of one man and one woman" and prohibits state judges and officials from recognizing same-sex marriages and civil unions sanctioned in other states.

Louisiana is the second state in the nation to ban gay marriage by constitutional amendment since a Massachusetts court decision in November opened the door for same-sex marriage in that state. Missouri was the first state to make the change.

Supporters hailed the Louisiana vote as a victory for preserving the institution of marriage against rulings such as the one in Massachusetts in which the court determined that only marriage rights, not civil unions, would provide equal protection under the Massachusetts Constitution.

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, the measure's chief sponsor in the Louisiana Legislature, said the lopsided passage of the amendment is a strong affirmation of "traditional marriage."

Scalise said he would have regarded a 60 percent victory a healthy mandate.

Opponents, who failed in court challenges to keep the amendment off the ballot, said it was unnecessary because state law already bans same-sex unions and that the proposition is so broadly written as to disrupt private contracts and employee benefits.

Even before all the votes were in, opponents conceded defeat. "It is pretty obvious," said Randy Evans, a New Orleans lawyer and spokesman for the Forum for Equality Political Action Committee. "The Christian Coalition did an excellent job of deceiving the Legislature" in passing the amendment on to voters. Evans said as many as 500,000 same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex couples now stand to lose rights.

Opponents had hoped to get at least 30 percent of voters to oppose the measure.

Legal experts disagreed on what the amendment would do, including its impact on contracts, private-sector employee benefit packages, inheritances, taxes, real estate issues, bankruptcies and other parts of state law that deal with marriage.

Secretary of State Fox McKeithen said a little more than 27.5 percent of the state's 2.8 million voters went to the polls. The same number, 27.6 percent, turned out in Orleans Parish.

Gay-rights organizations have said they intend to file challenges to the measure's constitutionality in state and federal courts. Lawsuits challenging the results of the election have to be filed within 10 days after the returns are made official Sept. 30, elections officials said.

Passage of the measure means the amendment will become part of the state's charter within the next four to five weeks if no lawsuits challenge it, First Assistant Secretary of State Reneé Free said.

There had been little doubt voters would approve the amendment. "It was not if it would pass, but by how much," said Bernie Pinsonat, a pollster for Southern Media and Opinion Research of Baton Rouge, which conducted polls earlier in the year that said two-thirds of the voters favored it.

The Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative family-issues group; the Roman Catholic bishops of the state; and hundreds of Protestant ministers had lined up behind the measure, urging their congregants to vote for it. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Catholic, said she was going to vote for it but did not participate in any campaign to help pass it.

Opponents said passage of the amendment will mean government intrusion in many areas, including issues such as who gets hospital visitation rights or who gets to make funeral arrangements. They also said that the measure could nullify the effects of the domestic partner registry in New Orleans in which same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex couples can designate a partner to receive health insurance benefits and retirement benefits from the city.

Proponents called the threat of undoing private contracts a scare tactic. However, they conceded that passage could limit the usefulness of the New Orleans domestic partner registry, although city officials do not interpret it that way.