In this essay "LGB" refers to Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals.
"SSM" refers to marriages by same-sex couples.
2014-APR-11: Current status of same-sex marriage lawsuits in Indiana:
There are more than 60 lawsuits seeking same-sex marriage in various U.S. states that have previously imposed bans on SSM.
Five of them have been filed in Indiana. All five were consolidated under District Court Judge Richard L. Young. 1
2014-JUN-25: District Court judge declares ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional:
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young declared Amendment 3 to the Indiana Constitution to be unconstitutional. It had prohibited marriages by same-sex couples across the state, and also prohibited the state from recognizing marriages that had been solemnized out-of-state.
Judge Young based his decision on the now familiar and often repeated grounds that the amendment violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Amendment 5 was thus void and unenforceable. 2 Over a dozen other state and federal courts have declared same-sex marriage legal in various states during the previous 12 months and have based their decision on the same clauses.
Judge Young wrote that:
"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." 2
In common with some other recent District Court decisions on same-sex marriage, he did not immediately stay his ruling. This enabled those same-sex couples who could respond quickly to obtain marriage licenses immediately and be married.
Judge Young was probably aware of the chaos caused in some other states where courts legalized SSM. To prevent confusion at the county clerk offices, he specifically instructed them to start issuing licenses to same-sex couples. County clerks in at least six counties followed the court's instructions and started issuing licenses immediately.
In the capital city of Indianapolis, Marion County Clerk Beth White's office issued 219 licenses that day, by the time that it finally closed at 8 PM. They offered civil marriages in return for a $50 donation to a local non profit: the Indiana Youth Group that supports LGBTQ teens.
Craig Bowen and Jake Miller, who have been in a relationship for eight years, obtained their license and immediately married each other. Miller Said:
"Our parents don't know yet, so they might be a little mad at us. I sent Craig a text and said, 'Hey, do you want to get married today'?"
Rick Sutton, president of Indiana Equality Action married his partner of 16 years, Robert Owens, shortly after Bowen and Miller. Sutton said:
"That's all we ever wanted was to be treated equal [sic], and that's what this [marriage] means.",\
2014-JUN-25: Attorney General requests a stay of the District Court ruling:
The Attorney General's Office immediately filed an emergency motion with both the District Court and the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, They asked that for an emergency stay to stop additional couples from marrying.
The motion to the Court of Appeals said, in part:
"Time is of the essence to stay the district court's final judgment ... in order to maintain the historic status quo of man-woman marriage that Indiana and its citizens have adopted." 4
The motion also states that:
"... without a stay, any same-sex marriages granted now might have their legal validity questioned later if the United States Supreme Court eventually were to rule in favor of states [' bans] in upcoming legal challenges to marriage laws." 5
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a petition in U.S. District Court opposing the stay. They wrote:
"... the question is what interest does the public in Indiana have in maintaining what this court recognizes is profound 'injustice?' The Hoosier public has no such interest." 5
More reactions to the District Court ruling:
CNN received a statement from Bryan Corbin, the public information officer at the Attorney General's office stating that:
"The AG's Office noted the confusion and inconsistency for the public that has occurred since Wednesday as most county clerks are issuing marriage licenses to -- and performing marriages for -- same sex couples, but a few clerks are not." 4
The Office also instructed the five counties who were named in the original 5 lawsuits to follow the court order. It also suggested that the clerks at the other 87 Indian County offices:
"... show respect for the judge and the orders that are issued."
The 36 page text of the District Court ruling in Baskin et al. v. Bogan et al. is available online. 2