Indiana: Weddings Begin After Federal Judge Rules Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Indiana couples are rushing to obtain marriage certificates after a federal judge ruled that the state's ban was unconstitutional.

BY Michelle Garcia

June 25 2014 12:26 PM ET UPDATED: June 25 2014 10:38 PM ET

After a federal judge in Indiana struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday morning, couples rushed to county clerks' offices across the state to get married.

Craig Bowen and Jake Miller were the first couple to wed in Indianapolis, according to The Indianapolis Star.

"Our parents don't know yet, so they might be a little mad at us," Miller told the Star. "I sent Craig a text and said 'Hey, do you want to get married today?'"

Couples in other parts of the state, including Hamilton, Monroe, and Marion counties, are also exchanging vows as clerks there have announced they're processing certificates for same-sex couples. The Indiana attorney general's office has already indicated it will appeal today's decision. But in other states, such as Utah, same-sex couples also got married during the window of time between a ruling and a stay while an appeal is taken up.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young is now one of 20 federal and state judges who have ruled state bans unconstitutional. The decision came after a judge ordered Indiana in April to respect the marriage of a terminally ill woman and her partner, who are parents to two daughters.

"Plaintiffs are not asking the court to recognize a new right; but rather, '[t]hey seek simply the same right that is currently enjoyed by heterosexual individuals; the right to make a public commitment to form an exclusive relationship and create a family with a partner with whom the person shares an intimate and sustaining emotional bond,'" Young wrote (read the full ruling here). He added, "It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based soley on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage." 

The ruling addressed multiple legal challenges to the state's marriage law. Lambda Legal, which brought the case Baskin v. Bogan on behalf of five couples, cheered Young's decision.

"As Chief Judge Young recognized, these families, and so many others across the state, suffer significant harm when they are wrongly denied the freedom to marry the one unique person they love," said staff attorney Paul D. Castillo. "Indiana now joins the momentum for nationwide marriage equality and Hoosiers can now proclaim they are on the right side of history."

Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry added, "Judge Young held today that there is no justification for denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry, the latest in a unanimous wave of favorable rulings over the past few months. The judge noted the harm marriage discrimination inflicts on Indiana families, while benefiting no one.  With more than 70 marriage cases pending and a strong majority of Americans backing the freedom to marry, today's decision out of the heartland underscores that America is ready for the Supreme Court to bring an end to marriage discrimination once and for all."

 

 

 

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