Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal In Indiana
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is reaffirming his commitment to traditional marriage but says he will follow the law regarding unions of same-sex couples.
Pence said in a statement Monday that people are free to disagree over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to reject an appeal of a ruling striking down Indiana's gay marriage ban, along with similar appeals in four other states. But he says people are not free to disobey the decision.
County clerks in Indiana are beginning to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Supreme Court's order.
Pence urges Indiana residents to continue to demonstrate civility and ``respect the beliefs of all people in our state.''
Meanwhile, supporters of same-sex marriage in Indiana say they are ``ecstatic'' about the ruling.
American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said Monday that the high court's decision not to hear the appeals means same-sex marriage ``is now a reality'' in Indiana.
He says same-sex marriages can now legally resume in the state, but he expects it to take several days for many county clerks to begin issuing licenses.
Falk spoke at a news conference Monday at ACLU-Indiana's office in Indianapolis. He was joined by same-sex couples who took part in the original lawsuit challenging Indiana's ban of their marriages.
Among them were Melody Betterman-Layne and her wife Tara, who were out shopping when they got a message from their attorneys, telling them their marriage was once again legal in their home state. Tara says at first she was disappointed the Supreme Court didn’t issue a broader ruling for the whole country. Melody says she was flabbergasted…but excited:
Organizations who have treated us unfairly because they could, because the state of Indiana said that was okay, will not be able to do that anymore – that’s what I’m crowing a little bit about inside today”, said Melody.
Hundreds of same-sex couples were married across the state after a federal judge struck down Indiana's s ban in June.
The Indiana attorney general's office says it will communicate with county clerks to minimize chaos and confusion at local courthouses.
Those on the other side of the same-sex marriage debate were disappointed by the Supreme Court's announcement.
American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah Clark says it’s a bad day for Hoosier children:
“This is a strike at the truth that children need a mom and a dad, that marriage is a union of not just any two people but a union of the two sexes", said Clark.
But the Supreme Court did not issue a broad ruling for the country; it simply chose not to hear the cases before it, leaving other cases still in the federal court system in limbo. Indiana Family Institute public policy director Ryan McCann says the issue is still an open question:
“I think you could still see the U-S Supreme Court act on this in the future", said McCann. "I just think it’s unworkable, the situation that we have now, where states are kind of left to not know exactly what the guidance is.”
Two other same-sex marriage cases are pending in Missouri. One is a federal challenge in Kansas City, and the other is a St. Louis case that focuses on city officials who issued marriage licenses to four same-sex couples to trigger a legal test of the ban.