Hearing set on gay couples’ marriage rights in La.

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A federal judge has heard arguments on whether Louisiana must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

Wednesday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman dealt with lawsuits filed earlier this year by gay married couples. Those couples say Louisiana violates their rights to equal protection and due process by refusing to give them the rights of opposite-sex married couples.

The state and opponents of gay marriage want Feldman to reject the suits. They argued that each state has the right to define marriage in its own way.

Lawyers on both sides of the issue cite parts of a Supreme Court decision last year that said legally married gay couples are entitled to the same federal benefits available to opposite-sex couples.

Feldman did not indicate when he would rule.

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