Judge Strikes Louisiana Law Requiring Birth Certificates for Marriage

August 11, 2017

A federal judge has permanently blocked a Louisiana law that prevented foreign-born U.S. citizens from getting married if they couldn’t produce a birth certificate.

U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle’s ruling resolves a lawsuit Lafayette resident Viet Anh Vo filed last year after he and his U.S.-born fiancee had their application for a marriage license rejected two weeks before their wedding.

The permanent injunction benefits anyone whom the 2016 law prevented from obtaining a marriage license.

The judge initially blocked enforcement of the statute in March, pending Tuesday’s final ruling. Lawmakers responded in June by allowing marriage license applicants who can’t produce a birth certificate to get a judicial waiver. But Lemelle said that new law, which took effect on Aug. 1, preserved other unconstitutional provisions, such as passport and visa requirements, that apply only to foreign-born citizens.

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