Louisiana marriage law requiring birth certificate blocked

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Latest on a challenge of Louisiana’s marriage law (all times local):

12:10 p.m. – A man whose marriage license was denied in Louisiana because he doesn’t have a birth certificate plans to celebrate with his fiancee tonight.

Victor Vo won his case against the state on Wednesday when a federal judge says Louisiana’s birth certificate requirement violates the constitution and the fundamental right to marry.

The happy couple plans to get the license they need to legalize their marriage as soon as Thursday in their hometown of Lafayette. They had a marriage ceremony a year ago despite being turned down for a license, because they had spent thousands of dollars and invited 350 guests.

Vo says the judge’s preliminary injunction blocking the law shows that “one person can actually make a change in the world.”

He says he hopes others can see now that they can fight for their rights as well.


11 a.m. – A federal judge has blocked a Louisiana law that prevents people without birth certificates from marrying.

The judge’s preliminary injunction means Viet Anh “Victor” Vo is likely to win his constitutional challenge of the state law if it goes to trial.

Vo is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Louisiana since he was three months old, but he can’t get a birth certificate because he was a Vietnamese refugee born in an Indonesian camp.

The judge says Louisiana’s law violates his equal protection rights and denies him the fundamental right to marry.


4:30 a.m. – Viet Anh Vo is a U.S. citizen who has lived in Louisiana since he was an infant, but he says in court papers he’s unable to get a marriage license under a 2015 state law that, he argues, discriminates against the foreign-born.

A federal judge in New Orleans was set to hear the case Wednesday.

At issue is a requirement that marriage license applicants present a certified copy of their birth certificates. The 31-year-old Vo was born in an Indonesian refugee camp after his parents fled Vietnam. Vietnamese and Indonesian authorities did not recognize his birth or issue a birth certificate, his lawsuit says.

The 2015 law’s Republican sponsor said it was designed to crack down on people using sham marriages to gain visas and citizenship.


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