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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ind. Court - Much news about yesterday's Indiana same-sex marriage ruling

The Indianapolis Star has a number of stories this morning, including "Judge throws out Indiana's same-sex marriage ban" by Jill Disis and Tim Evans. Some quotes:

A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriages Wednesday, leaving state officials, lawmakers, social conservatives, gay rights supporters and legal experts scrambling to sort out exactly what the decision means — and what will happen next.

But for the hundreds of gay and lesbian couples who rushed to courthouses across the state for impromptu weddings, the judge's words meant something simple, yet significant: They could finally be married in Indiana.

The monumental ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Young said Indiana's law that limits marriage to one man and one woman, and that denies recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, is unconstitutional. It mirrored more than a dozen recent federal court opinions that have struck down same-sex marriage bans in other states. * * *

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller's staff quickly filed a notice of appeal and an emergency request for a stay of Young's order, which could halt same-sex marriages pending outcome of an appeal. The motion for a stay, according to spokesman Bryan Corbin, which has been granted in other jurisdictions, "is intended to prevent confusion and inconsistency between county clerk's offices regarding license issuance, while the appeal is pending."

"Until the United States Supreme Court determines that traditional marriage laws such as Indiana's are unconstitutional, it is premature to require Indiana to change its definition of marriage and abide by this court's conception of marriage," the attorney general wrote in the request for stay. "Nonetheless, marriages in violation of Indiana's existing law have taken place, are taking place, and will continue to take place pursuant to this court's order." * * *

Just minutes after Young's ruling was released, Marion County Clerk Beth White began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and conducted what was likely the state's first such wedding — the spur-of-the-moment union of Craig Bowen and Jake Miller of Indianapolis.

The news came out around noon. There was a party atmosphere inside the clerk's office on Wednesday afternoon, where hundreds of people waited in line for a marriage license as White kept the doors open until 8 p.m. to accommodate the crush. After the office closed at 11 p.m., it had processed 250 marriage licenses and conducted more than 186 same-sex wedding ceremonies. It said marriage license services would resume at 8 a.m. Thursday, and it would continue to offer civil ceremonies. * * *

Later in the day, clerks in Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks and Johnson counties also began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Boone and Hamilton county clerks were parties to the lawsuit and were instructed by the attorney general that they must comply with Young's order, said spokesman Corbin. He said clerks in other counties are not under the direct jurisdiction of the federal court order, but the attorney general "must encourage everyone to show respect for the judge and the orders that are issued."

It is not clear how long the current window for same-sex marriages will remain open. Legal experts said a decision on the request for a stay could come in a matter of days.

From the South Bend Tribune, this story by Amanda Gray, Madeline Buckley and Lincoln Wright,reporting:
A crowd flocked to the St. Joseph County clerk’s office in the courthouse, totaling at least 19 couples seeking marriage licenses.

One woman brought cupcakes for those getting married, while another woman officiated weddings in the hallway of the office before a queue of excited couples.

While the St. Joseph County clerk’s office issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples Wednesday afternoon, some clerk’s offices in surrounding counties declined to immediately do so as officials waited for word from the Indiana Attorney General’s office, which later filed a request for an emergency stay of Young’s order. * * *

County Clerk Terri Rethlake said she delayed issuing licenses in hopes she would hear something from the Attorney General’s office, but made the decision to go forward just before 2 p.m. * * *

In LaPorte, a clerk said the county was issuing marriage licenses, but had not received any requests by the end of the day Wednesday.

Clerks in Elkhart and Kosciuscko counties said they did not issue marriage licenses, awaiting guidance from the office of Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

WSBT, however, reported Elkhart County issued two marriage licenses by the end of the day on Wednesday.

"Gay marriage ban overturned: State asks federal judge to delay ruling; Allen County begins issuing licenses," is the headline to Niki Kelly's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette story, last updated this morning. In addition, FWJG reporter Rebecca S. Green has a story headed "City couples young and old rush to wed." It begins:
FORT WAYNE – Harriet Miller was the first to show up Wednesday afternoon to park herself in front of the bank of public computers on the second floor of the Allen County Courthouse and fill out a digital marriage license application.

But the 77-year old Miller and her partner of 37 years, Monica Wehrle, weren't the first same-sex couple to obtain a marriage license and tie the knot hours after the state's ban on same-sex unions was overturned by a federal judge.

The distinction of first same-sex couple to obtain a marriage license in Allen County belonged to Kenny Edholm, 28, and his partner of 10 years, Josh Reid, 29.

Chalk it up to youth or Wehrle forgetting her driver's license, but the soon-to-be Edholms flew through their application and with obvious excitement marched up to the clerk's window and picked up their license.

They owed their spot, though, to Miller and Wehrle, who were close behind.

The lesbian couple were among the plaintiffs in the federal case that was consolidated and ruled on Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young in Indianapolis.

“I'm very happy, for us and all of Indiana,” Miller said. “We've worked long and hard for equal rights on many fields.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 26, 2014 08:56 AM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions