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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ind. Decisions - SD Ind. Judge Young rules Indiana's same sex marriage ban is unconstitutional

Chief Judge Young rules today that "Indiana’s same sex marriage ban violates the due process clause and equal protection clause and is, therefore, unconstitutional."

From the 36-page opinion:

The court has before it three cases, Baskin v. Bogan, Fujii v. Pence, and Lee v. Pence. All three allege that Indiana Code Section 31-11-1-1 (“Section 31-11-1-1”), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and voids marriages between same-sex persons, is facially unconstitutional. Plaintiffs in the Baskin and Fujii cases challenge the entirety of Section 31-11-1-1, while Plaintiffs in the Lee case challenge only Section 31-11-1-1(b). Plaintiffs, in all three cases, allege that Section 31- 11-1-1 violates their rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In each case, Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief against the respective Defendants. * * *

VII. Conclusion

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. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2689 (citing Marriage Equality Act, 2011 N.Y. Laws 749). Because “[a]s the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.” Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 579. * * *

Pursuant to the reasoning contained above, the court DECLARES that Indiana Code § 31-11-1-1(a), both facially and as applied to Plaintiffs, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause. Additionally, the court DECLARES that Indiana Code § 31-11-1-1(b), both facially and as applied to Plaintiffs, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Because this is a facial challenge, same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana.

Having found that Indiana Code § 31-11-1-1 and the laws in place enforcing such violate the Plaintiffs’ rights under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, Defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and those acting in concert with them are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing Indiana Code Section 31-11-1-1 and other Indiana laws preventing the celebration or recognition of same-sex marriages. Additionally, Defendants and officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from enforcing or applying any other state or local law, rule, regulation or ordinance as the basis to deny marriage to same-sex couples otherwise qualified to marry in Indiana, or to deny married same-sex couples any of the rights, benefits, privileges, obligations, responsibilities, and immunities that accompany marriage in Indiana.

Specifically, this permanent injunction requires the following, and the court ORDERS the following:

1. The Defendant Clerks, their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and all those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from denying a marriage license to a couple because both applicants for the license are the same sex. Thus they must act pursuant to their authority under Indiana Code Chapter 31-11-4 and issue marriage licenses to couples who, but for their sex, satisfy all the requirements to marry under Indiana law;

2. The Attorney General, Greg Zoeller, his officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and all those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from prosecuting or assisting in the prosecution, using his authority from Indiana Code § 4-6-1-6, of the following:

a. same-sex couples who fill out the current marriage license application where the spaces provided only allow for a male and female (Ind. Code §§ 31-11-11-1 and 31-11-11-3),

b. clerks who grant the marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples (Ind. Code § 31-11-11-4), or

c. those who choose to solemnize same-sex marriages (Ind. Code §§ 31- 11-11-5 and 31-11-11-7).

3. William C. Vanness II, M.D., the Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, his officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and all those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED to:
a. Act pursuant to their authority under Indiana Code § 16-37-1 to change the death certificate form to allow for same-sex spouses, b. Act pursuant to their authority under Indiana Code § 16-37-3 to issue death certificates listing same-sex spouses, and c. Act pursuant to their authority under Indiana Code § 31-11-4-4 to revise the marriage license application to allow for same-sex applicants.
4. The Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Revenue, his officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and all those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED to exercise their authority under Indiana Code § 6-8.1-3 to revise the filing guidelines to allow and process joint tax returns for same-sex married couples as they do for opposite-sex married couples.

5. The Board of Trustees of the Indiana Public Retirement System and Steve Russo, the Executive Director of the Indiana Public Retirement System, and their officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and all those acting in concert with them, are PERMANENTLY ENJOINED to administer the Pension Fund pursuant to Indiana Code Chapters 5-10.5-3, 5-10.5-4, and 5- 10.5-6, so as to provide the same benefits for all married couples, regardless of whether the couples are of the opposite sex or the same sex.

This Order does not apply to Governor Pence, who the court found was not a proper party. This Order takes effect on the 25th day of June 2014.

[Bold emphasis by ILB]

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 25, 2014 12:19 PM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions