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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - AG Zoeller issues guidance to clerks

Niki Kelly of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has tweeted that AG Zoeller has offered guidance to the county clerks:

Here is Kelly's just posted story in the FWJG.

Readers will recall that the AG' office issued guidance to the Clerks on June 25th, including:

For those county clerks that were named (Hamilton, Allen, Boone, Porter, Lake) in the cases ruled upon today please be aware that you must comply with the court’s ruling or be subject to contempt of court. Other county clerks are not under the direct jurisdiction of the court order but as an officer of the court we must encourage everyone to show respect for the judge and the orders that are issued.
ILB: Many county clerks last week found the second sentence ambiguous ...

Today the AG's office has sent out additional guidance. Here are some quotes from the cover letter (ILB emphasis):

During the litigation, the Attorney General’s Office as state government’s lawyer has kept in regular communication with county clerks offices in the 92 Indiana counties. County clerks have asked how they should address situations involving a number of same-sex marriage licenses they granted and/or marriages performed between mid-day June 25, when the district court invalidated the marriage definition limitation, and late afternoon June 27, when the 7th Circuit stayed the district court’s order.

With the caveat that the Attorney General’s Office does not represent county clerks and cannot provide private legal advice, the AG’s Office conducted legal research and offered guidance to county clerks today:

1. We have not concluded, nor suggested that clerks conclude, that any same-sex marriage licenses issued or same-sex marriages solemnized between June 25 and June 27 are void or invalid, regardless of whether they have been solemnized or recorded. The validity is undetermined and such issues might have to be determined by a court later.

2. For situations where a marriage license was obtained from the county clerk before the stay order was issued but the signed marriage license is returned to the clerk after the stay, then the guidance is that clerks should respect the 7th Circuit’s stay order and refrain from further processing or recording solemnized duplicate same-sex marriage certificates.

3. Likewise, the guidance is that county clerks, judges and other officials who solemnize marriages should refrain from performing any additional marriages of same-sex couples – even if a license were issued during the two-and-a-half-day window before the stay – until there is a conclusive ruling in the appeal.

4. County clerks have the discretion to issue refunds of the marriage license fees that applicants paid, on request. Applicants may wish to have Clerks hold the licenses and solemnized certificates pending resolution of the appeal. The guidance is that clerks follow their normal refund practice if a refund is requested.

The AG’s Office also recommended each clerk consult with their county attorney who provides legal representation for the clerk. Although not an official legal opinion of the Attorney General’s Office, this guidance is intended to help clerks navigate unfamiliar legal terrain. Guidance is subject to change based on future rulings of the court or future legislative action. * * *

You can attribute this statement to:.

Bryan Corbin
Public Information Officer
Office of the Indiana Attorney General

Notice that the Attorney General himself is not quoted in the release, although he generally is.

Attached is the actual June 30th document providing "additional guidance."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 1, 2014 11:22 AM
Posted to Indiana Government