A Louisiana court of appeal upholds a Lambda Legal victory that affirmed the City of New Orleans’ right to provide health benefits to domestic partners of city employees, and to establish a domestic partner registry for city residents.
On January 15, the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Fourth District, upheld a ruling by the Civil District Court for Orleans Parish that the state constitution does, in fact, grant the City of New Orleans the authority to offer health benefits to the domestic partners of city employees and to maintain a registry of domestic partners for residents there.
This latest decision comes a year to the day after Lambda Legal’s victory in which the lower court rejected claims from the antigay group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) that a registry violates laws prohibiting marriage for same-sex couples and that local governments lack the authority to govern such arrangements.
In 1993, the City of New Orleans created a domestic partner registry for the purpose of allowing couples to make public declarations to care for and support each other. Later in 1997, the City extended health insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees. The ADF attacked the policies in 2002 and, at the city’s request, Lambda Legal joined the lawsuit.
According to the decision, the registry ordinance “has no effect on the Civil Code articles relating to marriage” and “creates no obligations between the parties who choose to register.”
The case is Ralph v. City of New Orleans.