Indiana attorney general tries to get gay marriage lawsuit dismissed

BY Advocate.com Editors

January 07 2003 12:00 AM ET

The Indiana attorney general's office on Friday asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by three same-sex couples who want Indiana to recognize their long-term relationships as marriage.

A male couple and two female couples asked Marion superior court judge S.K. Reid to declare that Indiana's law banning same-sex marriage violates the state constitution's guarantee of equal privileges for all its citizens. The lawsuit was filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the couples. One of the female couples is from Hendricks County; the other two couples are from Indianapolis.

In a brief filed late Friday afternoon, the attorney general's office argued that Indiana's prohibition against same-sex marriage is constitutional because the state has a compelling interest in promoting traditional marriages and procreation. State and federal courts have long recognized the importance of the family to an open society, wrote special counsel Thomas M. Fisher. He also said that striking down the same-sex prohibition could undermine the legislature's ability to prohibit other forms of marriage, such as polygamy.

In the event that the court does not strike down the same-sex marriage prohibition, the couples have asked the court to require the state to recognize the couples' civil unions, which they had performed in Vermont in 2000.

Fisher said that no other state has recognized Vermont's civil unions.

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