Louisiana reacts to court's gay marriage decisions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court

decisions striking a law that denied federal benefits to married gay

couples and clearing

the way for resumption of gay marriage in California were

celebrated by gay rights activists in Louisiana. They were harshly

criticized by the author of the state's constitutional ban on

same-sex marriage.

SarahJane Brady, director of the Forum For Equality in New Orleans, acknowledged that the decision doesn't legalize gay marriage

in Louisiana. Still, she called the action "a massive victory."

"I actually think I let out a holler when I saw it," Brady said.

The organization planned a celebration Wednesday in the French Quarter.

Spokesman John Hill said members would meet

with lawyers to determine how the action will affect same-sex couples

who live

in Louisiana but wed in states where gay marriage is legal. They

also will discuss whether the decisions will provide fodder

for any new legal challenges of Louisiana's gay marriage ban.

"While this is a joyous day for many married

couples and families, Louisiana remains one of 37 states that still

treat lesbian,

gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens and their children

as unequal and second-class," the group said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Scalise, author of the Louisiana Constitution's ban on gay marriage and civil unions, decried the court's

decision on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"It is a sad day when the same court that upheld Obamacare decides to reverse course on thousands of years of tradition and

a strong bipartisan coalition in Congress by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act," Scalise said. "This Supreme Court

ruling marks a low point in judicial activism where unelected judges turned against traditional marriage which has been a

hallmark of American society since our nation's founding."

The amendment Scalise sponsored as a member

of the Louisiana Legislature, before he was elected to Congress, was

passed by

78 percent of those voting in a 2004 election. Hill believes

attitudes that prevailed then are changing, even in conservative

Louisiana. He points to a Public Policy Polling survey conducted

Feb. 8-12. The automated telephone poll of 603 Louisiana

voters showed that, while 59 percent said same-sex marriage should

not be allowed, 25 percent said it should, and another

29 percent said same-sex civil unions should be allowed.

The poll, which PPP said was not paid for by

any campaign or political group, had a margin for error of plus or

minus 4 percentage