A judge in Indianapolis dismissed a lawsuit challenging Indiana's ban on recognizing marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, ruling that state law clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The state is justified in allowing only opposite-sex couples to marry, Marion County superior court judge S.K. Reid ruled Wednesday.
Such a law, the ruling said, "promotes the state's interest in encouraging procreation to occur in a context where both biological parents are present to raise the child." The Indiana Civil Liberties Union said it will appeal the ruling.
The lawsuit was filed in August by Teresa Stephens and Ruth Morrison of Indianapolis; David Wene and David Squire of Indianapolis, who entered into a civil union in Vermont in 2000; and Charlotte Egler and Dawn Egler of Hendricks County, who also had a civil union ceremony in Vermont in 2000.
"Same-sex couples in a committed relationship are no different than married couples," said ICLU attorney Ken Falk. "The time has come to recognize that."
The lawsuit sought to press Indiana to lift its ban on marriages between same-sex couples, or at least to recognize civil unions entered into in other states. A 1997 Indiana law prohibits the state from recognizing same-sex marriages "solemnized" in other states. Similar cases are pending in Massachusetts and New Jersey.