Same-sex couples involved in the lawsuit in Indiana appear at a news conference.
(Photo Courtesy: Indiana Public Broadcasting)
October 06, 2014

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.”

Meanwhile, Missouri attorney general Chris Koster, announced Monday that he wouldn't appeal a Friday circuit court order that Missouri recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.

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.  


September 09, 2014

Indiana Asks Supreme Court To Settle Gay Marriage

Indiana is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states.

The state Attorney General's office on Tuesday asked the high court to reverse a ruling last week by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which declared Indiana and Wisconsin's bans against same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
Indiana says its case offers a perfect opportunity to settle the national debate once and for all.
Attorneys for gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana say they will file separate responses within 24 hours.
The 7th Circuit last Thursday upheld a federal judge's decision that found Indiana's same-sex marriage ban violated the constitution.

July 09, 2014

Indiana Governor's Office Tells Agencies To Ignore Gay Marriages

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.

The memo from the governor's chief counsel tells executive branch agencies to execute their functions as though the June 25 court order had not been issued.
A federal judge in Indianapolis struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional that day, leading to hundreds of same-sex marriages around the state.

But an appeals court stayed that ruling three days later after an appeal from the state attorney general's office.
The governor's office told agencies to recognize the out-of-state marriage of Amy Sandler and Nikole Quasney of Munster, in line with the appellate court order. Quasney is dying of ovarian cancer.

July 02, 2014

Indiana AG Cautions Clerks On Same-Sex Marriage

The Indiana attorney general's office says county clerks who issued marriage licenses last week to same-sex couples should not grant any more of those licenses.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered Indiana to recognize the marriage of one lesbian couple.

That emergency order applies only to Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who's fighting advanced ovarian cancer.
That move came after the same court on Friday stayed a federal judge's ruling striking down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional.
The attorney general's office says the stay put hundreds of marriage licenses issued same-sex couples and gay weddings performed in Indiana before the stay in legal limbo.
The office is advising clerks not to issue any more marriage licenses to same-sex couples or perform any more gay weddings

June 02, 2014

Advocates Go After Rauner On Same-Sex Marriage

Advocates for gay marriage are blasting Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner's stance on the issue as Illinois' new law allowing same-sex marriages takes effect statewide.

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov says the Winnetka businessman has opposed efforts for the new law and has previously vowed to work against them. He says Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has been a champion of same-sex marriage.

Bruce Rauner has said if he were governor and a same-sex marriage bill came to his desk - he’d either sign or veto it - depending on the results of a public referendum.

"When you run for governor, the top job in the state, you better be able to say where you stand. You have to tell the truth," Cherkasov said.  "You have to explain to the voters how you would vote on crucial decisions affecting the lives of our state."

A spokesman from Rauner’s campaign said the Republican does not have an agenda to change the same-sex marriage law.  

Advocates addressed the issue Monday in Chicago. The law took effect Sunday. But since it wasn't a business day some county clerks waited until Monday to issue marriage documents.
Rauner hasn't detailed his views on gay marriage, aside from saying he doesn't have a social issues agenda.

Meanwhile, Dennis Cockrum and Joel Brotherton were among the dozens of couples who lined up in Champaign Sunday as same-sex marriage became officially legal in Illinois.  

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten said his office had processed about two dozen licenses as of that afternoon.  He expected to complete between 40 and 50 licenses by the end of the day. 

Sunday marked the first day all of Illinois' 102 counties could begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

January 28, 2014

Indiana House Passes Constitutional Gay Marriage Ban

Indiana's House of Representatives has approved a proposal that would place the state's gay marriage ban in the state's constitution.  

The House narrowly voted 57-40 Tuesday in favor of the measure. The proposed ban now heads to the Indiana Senate, where members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are set to take up the issue.  

The vote followed weeks of uncertainty for a measure that swept through the General Assembly with ease just three years ago.  

The House measure leaves open the door for approval of civil unions and employer benefits for same-sex couples. It also would potentially reset the clock on Indiana's lengthy process of amending the constitution. But Senate Republicans could potentially place the measure back on course to appear on the November ballot.

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