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Federal judge upholds Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban

Melanie Miranda of New Orleans holds a copy of the U.S. Constitution during a rally in Jackson Square in New Orleans, on June 26, 2013.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

NEW ORLEANS - A federal judge has upheld Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriages, as well as the state's refusal to recognize gay marriages legally performed in other states.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's ruling Wednesday broke a string of 20-plus court wins for supporters of same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. Feldman said gay marriage supporters failed to prove that the ban violates equal protection or due process provisions of the Constitution.

Feldman agreed with state attorneys who argued that states have the right to define marriage.

A spokesman for a gay rights group said an appeal is planned.

The Supreme Court is under increasing pressure to make a definitive, nationwide ruling on same-sex marriages.

So far, the high court has given little indication of when it will eventually take up the fundamental question of whether same-sex couples have a right to marry, or how it would rule on the matter. However, there's been a flurry of activity in the lower courts on the matter, bringing the issue closer to the Supreme Court.