University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Costanza and Brewer v. Caldwell PB-LA-0006
Docket / Court 13-01049-CA ( State Court )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
Plaintiffs, a same-sex couple who live in Louisiana, and had legally married in California, filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to have their marriage recognized by the state of Louisiana and the ability for one plaintiff to legally adopt the biological son of her partner. On July 26, 2013, ... read more >
Plaintiffs, a same-sex couple who live in Louisiana, and had legally married in California, filed a lawsuit in state court seeking to have their marriage recognized by the state of Louisiana and the ability for one plaintiff to legally adopt the biological son of her partner. On July 26, 2013, Judge Edward B. Broussard dismissed the case. The case was appealed.

On September 22, 2014, Judge Edward Rubin of the 15th Judicial District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the state's Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional under the due process clause, the equal protection clause, and the full-faith and credit clause of the federal constitution. The ruling ordered that the couple's marriage be recognized and granted a same-sex couple's second-parent adoption.

On September 25, the state of Louisiana appealed, putting the ruling on hold. on July 7, 2015, the Louisiana Supreme Court dismissed the State's appeal as moot. 167 So.3d 619 (2015). In its per curiam order, the Court explained that while the appeal was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court had decided Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015), which held that state bans on same-sex marriage violate both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Obergefell Court also ruled that there is "no lawful basis" to uphold so-called "recognition bans"—such as Louisiana's laws banning recognition of same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states.

Following Obergefell, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana held La. Const. Art. XII, § 15, La. Civ.Code art. 89, and La. Civ.Code art. 3520(B) violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and enjoined the State of Louisiana and its officials from enforcing those provisions as well as Revenue Information Bulletin No. 13-024. Robicheaux v. Caldwell, PB-LA-0002 in this Clearinghouse.

Describing those interceding cases, the Louisiana Supreme Court held here that they were binding upon it. Accordingly, it said, "Through the action of the federal courts, plaintiffs have received all the relief they requested in their motion for summary judgment, which forms the basis for this appeal. Given these developments, there is no longer a justiciable controversy for this court to resolve." It therefore dismissed the case as moot. However, it also "emphasize[d] that the freedom of religious organizations to perform marriage ceremonies according to the dictates of their faith is not implicated herein."

Patrick Branson - 04/13/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Full faith and credit
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) State of Louisiana
Plaintiff Description Same-sex couple who were legally married in California and moved to Louisiana.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 2013
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Order
PB-LA-0006-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 09/22/2014
Defendant's Motion for Appeal
PB-LA-0006-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 09/25/2014
Opinion (167 So.3d 619)
PB-LA-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/07/2015
Source: Google Scholar
show all people docs
Judges Crichton, Scott J. Court not on record show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Guidry, Greg Gerard (E.D. La.) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Hughes, Jefferson D. III Court not on record show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Knoll, Jeannette (State Supreme Court) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Rubin, Edward D. (State Trial Court) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0002
Weimer, John L. Court not on record show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baier, Paul R. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Caldwell, James David (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0001 | PB-LA-0006-0003
Duncan, S. Kyle (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0001 | PB-LA-0006-0003
Johnson, J. Michael (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Phillips, James Trey (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003
Phillips, Trey (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0001
Thornhill, Jessica M.P. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0001 | PB-LA-0006-0003
Wilton, Patricia Hill (Louisiana) show/hide docs
PB-LA-0006-0003

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