A federal judge may issue a ruling as early as next week on Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case said after a hearing today.
Lambda Legal's Camilla Taylor told The Indianapolis Star it's "very likely" that U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young will release a decision before Thursday, which is the expiration date for a temporary restraining order directing the state to recognize the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who wed in Massachusetts. Quasney has terminal cancer.
Taylor today asked the judge to extend that order indefinitely as well as to strike down the state's statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Both she and lawyers for the state who are defending the ban asked for summary judgment, meaning the judge would make his decision without the case going to a full trial.
"We're very optimistic," Taylor told the Star Friday afternoon, after the hearing in Evansville. "We think we put forward a good case." She does not expect Judge Young to order a full trial, as there are no facts in dispute.
Whether the judge upholds or voids the ban, however, the case will continue, as both sides have pledged to appeal if the ruling doesn't go their way. The case is one of five challenging the Indiana law. Unlike the situation in some states, Indiana's ban is not written into the state constitution, but only in state statute. Constitutional provisions are sometimes more difficult to challenge, but some courts have struck them down recently. Indiana legislators have tried to craft a constitutional amendment to put before voters, but the state's laws make that a complicated process, and the soonest an amendment could appear on the ballot would be 2016.