Indiana defends state's ban on gay marriage

BY admin

October 04 2003 12:00 AM ET

A lawsuit seeking to reverse Indiana's ban on same-sex unions could go to the Indiana court of appeals for a decision later this month. The attorney general's office filed a brief Thursday asking the court to uphold a judge's ruling that the state law clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The Indiana Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the three same-sex couples who filed the suit, has 15 days to respond. The case then goes to the court of appeals for a decision. Marion County superior court judge S.K. Reid ruled in May that the Indiana law "promotes the state's interest in encouraging procreation to occur in a context where both biological parents are present to raise the child." In the appeal, ICLU attorney Ken Falk disputed that contention, arguing that the 1986 law is unconstitutional because it violates the rights of "autonomy, self-determination, and personal privacy which encompass the marriage decision." Thomas M. Fisher of the attorney general's staff argued that the Indiana constitution provides no right to state-recognized same-sex marriage.

A 1997 Indiana law prohibits the state from recognizing same-sex marriages "solemnized" in other states. The lawsuit was filed in August 2002 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.

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