A federal judge in Louisiana on Wednesday upheld a state ban on gay marriage, becoming the first federal judge in the nation to do so this year.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman ruled that Louisiana's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman does not violate the Equal Protection or Due Process clauses of the Constitution. 


The Human Rights Campaign noted that the ruling stands against 21 other federal decisions on gay marriage, including a number of appeals court rulings. 

Last month, a Tennessee judge made a similar ruling. However, it was a state rather than a federal judge. 

Feldman, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1983, acknowledged a number of times in his opinion that his ruling differed from others. It is an issue that would likely have to be decided by the Supreme Court, he said. 

"These are earnest and thoughtful disputes, but they have become society's latest short fuse," he wrote. "One may be firmly resolved in favor of same-sex marriage, others may be just as determined that marriage is between a man and a woman."

The judge concluded that same-sex marriage does not violate the Equal Protection Clause because it serves a rational purpose in linking children to their biological parents — an argument many other courts have rejected. 

"Louisiana's laws and Constitution are directly related to achieving marriage's historically preeminent purpose of linking children to their biological parents," he said. 

"Because this Court concludes that Louisiana's laws are rationally related to its legitimate state interests, as defendants plausibly focus, they do not offend plaintiffs' rights to Equal Protection," he added.

He also found the ban does not violate same-sex couples' due process rights because gay marriage is not a fundamental right under the law. 

"Public attitude might be becoming more diverse, but any right to same-sex marriage is not yet so entrenched as to be fundamental," he wrote.