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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - Is the electronic marriage license system keeping same-sex couples in some counties from marrying? [Updated]

Here are some quotes from a July 19, 2013 ILB entry, which explored the problem: "Indiana’s current electronic marriage license application specifically designates 'male applicant' and 'female applicant' sections for gathering required background information.":

Some ILB thoughts: So do applicants have the option of a paper application, or is using the electronic form mandatory? Is there a statute denying use of a paper application where e-filing is available, or not? With a paper form, the applicants may, as Doug Masson writes:

almost certainly take themselves out of risk of this particular crime [perjury] by simply crossing out the incorrect gender designation and replacing it with the correct ones.
Do applicants have the option of going to a county that doesn't have e-filing? The answer to this question is "no." IC 31-11-4-3 provides: "Individuals who intend to marry must obtain a marriage license from the clerk of the circuit court of the county of residence of either of the individuals."

Interestingly, the marriage license e-filing system, which has been installed across the State within the past several years, is a product of the Indiana Supreme Court's Judicial Technology and Automation Committee (JTAC). According to a map on their website, all but 18 counties currently are using the e-filing system.

JTAC has prepared a factsheet on the "Marriage License E-file System." One of its stated selling points is that "Code requirements [will be] enforced by the application." In other words, couples using the electronic form only have the options provided.

One question that may be asked is, is this enforcement of the code requirements, including the state's DOMA, the responsibility of the judicial branch? Or, under our constitutional doctrine of separation of powers, that is the role of the executive branch: "Art. 5, Section 16. The Governor shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed."

Judge Young's ruling today speaks specifically to these marriage license issuance issues, enjoining county clerks and the attorney general from prohibiting the issue of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

[Updated at 4:07] Just saw this tweet:

Andy Markle ‏@AndyMarkle 7m BREAKING: Fountain Co. now recanting, saying it can't issue same-sex licenses until the online forms are updated.
Interestingly, as pointed out above, the online forms are a product of the Indiana Supreme Court's Judicial Technology and Automation Committee (JTAC).

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 25, 2014 01:26 PM
Posted to Indiana Government