Spurned by the United States Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling last year legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Louisiana lawmakers settled on a new way to protect the sanctity of marriage: by making it literally impossible for thousands of South Asian immigrants — legal immigrants who live in tight-knit, hard-working communities, typically in or around coastal Louisiana — to get married. That wasn’t the intent, but it was the effect, as The Washington Post reports:
So, as of this year, any foreign-born person wanting to get married in Louisiana must produce both an unexpired visa (even though a federal court has ruled that marriage licenses cannot be denied based on immigration status), as well as, somewhat inexplicably, a birth certificate.
No birth certificate, no marriage, no excuses.
The law has indeed placed marriage off-limits to immigrants in the country illegally, as intended. But it’s hurt plenty of legal immigrants, too. Louisiana is home to thousands of refugees, predominantly Vietnamese and Laotians who received asylum in the 1970s and 1980s after fleeing war and communism in their homelands.
Today these Louisianans often have green cards and even U.S. citizenship, but no access to their original birth documents, if such documents even exist.
Read it here.