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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ind. Courts - More on "Same-sex couples sue Indiana governor, attorney general over gay marriage ban"; and what is next?

Last Friday, March 7, the ILB reported that four same-sex couples had filed suit in federal court in New Albany, challenging Indiana's marriage requirements. The lawsuit, Love v. Pence, is available here.

Gary Popp of the News & Tribune had a lengthy story March 7th reporting on the lawsuit in detail. After noting that attorney generals in more than a half dozen states, including Kentucky, had declined to appeal federal judges' rulings in similar cases, the story reports:

On Friday, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said his office will defend Indiana’s statutory marriage definition challenged in the lawsuit.

“As state government’s lawyer, I must defend the state’s authority to define marriage at the state level within Indiana’s borders,” he said in a release. “People of goodwill have sincere differences of opinion on the marriage definition, but I hope Hoosiers can remain civil to each other as this legal question is litigated in the federal court.”

Nothing is said about what happens if Indiana loses in federal district court on constitutional grounds and the question then is - would Attorney General Zoeller appeal on behalf of the State of Indiana?

Or course, this is a hypothetical question, as this issue likely will not arise for more than a year, at a time when much may have changed. It is worth noting, however, the AG Zoeller has authored and filed an amicus brief on behalf of the State of Indiana in the 9th Circuit in 2010, supporting California's Prop. 8. AG Zoeller authored and filed amicus briefs on behalf of the State of Indiana in both of the same-sex marriage cases before the SCOTUS last term.

And most recently, AG Zoeller has authored and filed an amicus brief in the 9th Circuit on behalf of the State of Indiana, supporting the position of the State of Nevada (where the Nev. AG has declined to appeal), and in the 10th Circuit, supporting the positions of both Utah and Oklahoma in opposing same-sex marriage.

What may be "coming down the pike" in Indiana? After the Court of Appeals loss in Ruth Morrison, et al. v. Sadler (1/20/05 IndCtApp), the Indiana ACLU never filed another suit challenging Indiana's law, although numerous suits were filed in federal court in other states, particularly after last term's SCOTUS decisions.

Instead, it was a Louisville firm that finally last week filed the challenge to Indiana's marriage prohibition, and the case was filed in the New Albany Division of the Southern District of Indiana.

The ILB has learned, however, that now that the session is ending, several additional lawsuits are expected to be filed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 13, 2014 11:30 AM
Posted to Courts in general