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Topics In the News
Indiana Marriage Ban Struck Down Again; Governor Chastised for Lying to the Court
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 08/20/14
Last updated on: 08/20/14
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On August 19, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young again struck down Indiana's marriage laws, this time in Bowling v. Pence, a case involving a same-sex couple who married in Iowa in 2011 but whose marriage Indiana has refused to recognize. In addition, Judge Young severely criticized Indiana Governor Mike Pence for lying to the court. He characterized the governor's "bold misrepresentations" as "at a minimum, troubling."

The ruling in Bowling relies heavily on the previous ruling issued by Judge Young on June 25, 2014, when he ruled that Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Since he did not issue a stay on his ruling then, same-sex couples rushed to court houses around the state to apply for marriage licenses. After more than 600 marriage licenses had been issued to same-sex couples, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted a request for an emergency stay on June 27, 2014.

In Baskin v. Bogan, and two other related cases, Judge Young ruled that Indiana's same sex marriage ban violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution and is, therefore, unconstitutional.

In a moving conclusion to that opinion, Judge Young wrote: "The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions--laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely 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. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such. Today, the 'injustice that [we] had not earlier known or understood' ends."

Using the same logic that compelled the Baskin opinion, Judge Young found in Bowling that Indiana's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere also violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

However, the most interesting part of the decision was the Court's reinstatement of Governor Pence as a defendant.

In his previous decisions, Judge Young had accepted Pence's claim that he has no authority to enforce the state's marriage laws and had removed him as a defendant. But following the Baskin decision, Pence sent memoranda to executive agencies that "clearly contradict his prior representations to the court. The Governor can provide the parties with the requested relief as was evident by his initial memorandum on June 25, 2014, and he can enforce the statute to prevent recognition as evident by his correspondence on June 27 and July 7."

Thus, Judge Young reinstated the Governor as a proper defendant and called him out for lying to the Court.

Judge Young has ordered Indiana to recognize legal same-sex marriage's performed elsewhere, but has stayed his decision pending a ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which is currently reviewing decisions that have struck down same-sex marriage bans in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Judge Young's decision may be found here.

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