Thursday, June 26, 2014

Indiana's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Invalidated; Motion for Stay, Appeal Filed As Some Counties Issue Licenses

In Baskin v. Bogan, (SD IN, June 25, 2014), an Indiana federal district court held that Indian's ban on same-sex marriage, and on recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, is unconstitutional. The court found that the ban infringes the fundamental right to marry protected by the due process clause, and discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation in violation of the equal protection clause, adding:
The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples, such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as marriage-- not as same-sex marriage.  These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.
The Indianapolis Star reports that county clerks in several counties began issuing licenses for same-sex marriages yesterday. As reported by WTHR, Indiana's Attorney General quickly filed an emergency motion for a stay pending appeal (full text) and a notice of appeal to the 7th Circuit (full text). Two county clerks' offices also filed notices of appeal. Meanwhile the Attorney General contacted all counties stating that while only the five county clerks named in the lawsuits are required to comply with the court's order, everyone should "show respect for the judge and the orders that are issued."