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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Indiana.

Part 5

2014-JUN to AUG: Case: Baskin v. Bogan.
SSMs legalized. District Court ruling stayed by
Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals hears case.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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In this essay "LGB" refers to Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals.
"SSM" refers to marriages by same-sex couples.

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2014-JUN-25: More reactions to the Indiana District Court ruling:

Kara Brooks, spokesperson for Governor Mike Pence (R), issued a statement saying that the Governor supports the appeal, and supports the principle that Indiana has the right:

"... to define the institution of marriage for the residents of our state." 2

Apparently, the Governor holds a belief that is very common among other religious and social conservatives. That is, when a state constitution is amended by a public referendum, it is still valid even if it is found to violate the U.S. Constitution which is generally considered to be the ultimate law of the land.

If the United States were organized as a pure democracy. then a public vote by voters in a state would be the highest law in each state. However, the vast majority of constitutional specialists agree that the U.S. is a constitutional democracy. Thus, the federal Constitution is the highest law of the land. One of the most important functions of the federal court system is to determine when the federal Constitution is violated by state constitutions, and to declare the latter unconstitutional where such a conflict occurs.

Kyle Megrath of Hoosiers Unite for Marriage, a pro-equality group -- commented on Governor Pence's comment:

"Hundreds of loving, committed couples were finally able to join in marriage this week, and we delivered more than 12,000 petition signatures today asking Attorney General Greg Zoeller not to pursue any appeals of the ruling overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage. ... More than anything, this is a terrible blow to the legally wedded Indiana couples and their families who were finally recognized this week under Indiana. 2

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Week of 2014-JUN-27: Internet poll on same-sex marriage in Indiana:

Inside Indiana Business runs a different poll weekly among its web site visitors. On 2014-JUN-20, they asked visitors whether they:

"... agree with a federal judge’s decision overturning Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage."

Results were:

  • 65.4% favored the ruling to legalize same-sex marriage.

  • 34.6% opposed the ruling.

However, these results are of doubtful accuracy. The site deals mainly with business topics. There is a widespread support among companies in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry. Many express the opinion that to ban such marriages in a state makes it more difficult for companies to recruit qualified candidates for employment. Also, as the polling web site states, participants are self-selected. They state:

"The results of this poll are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those who have chosen to participate."

Unfortunately, conventional polls have given widely inconsistent results ranging for very heavy support to very heavy opposition. An article in Wikipedia listed the two most recent polls as:

  • 2013-SEP-24 to 25: WPA Opinion Research poll. 62% in favor of a ban on SSM; 33% against such a ban. margin of error ±4.4 percentage points

  • 2013-OCT-08 to 21: WISH-TV / Ball State University: 38% in favor of a ban on SSM; 57 % against such a ban. margin of error ±4.8 percentage points. 8

It is impossible to estimate reliably how much support for and opposition to same-sex marriage exists in Indiana as of 2014-SEP.

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2014-JUN-28: U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals approves a stay:

The Court of Appeals approved the request by Attorney General Gregory Zoeller for a stay of the District Court ruling. Marriage once more became unavailable to same-sex couples pending a decision by the appeals court. 4

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2014-JUL-07: Indiana refuses to recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages recently solemnized:

The state has decided to ignore the hundreds of marriages that were solemnized between the time that the District Court issued its ruling on JUN-25 in favor of legalizing marriages by same-sex couples, and the creation of a stay on that ruling by the Court of Appeals on JUN-27.

Mark G. Ahearn, chief counsel to Gov. Mike Pence, issued a memo stating that the prohibition of such marriages in Indiana's Constitution:

"... is in full force and effect and executive branch agencies are to execute their functions as though the U.S. District Court order of June 25 had not been issued. ... In consultation with our legal counsel, we believe a proper reading of the Court of Appeals decision stays the impact of the initial federal court decision. As governor, I have an obligation to uphold the laws of the state of Indiana." 5

His final comment is not necessarily accurate. When he took his oath of office, he promised to uphold both the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of Indiana. There have been over a dozen state and federal court rulings related to same-sex marriage bans since mid-2013. All have found a conflict between the federal and state constitutions both in Indiana and in numerous other states. All have found SSM bans unconstitutional. Many Attorneys General and Governors have followed their promise to uphold the federal Constitution. Governor Pence has done the opposite and is apparently considering the state Constitution superior to the federal Constitution.

Paul Castillo is a staff lawyer for Lambda Legal, -- one of the main national pro-LGBT groups, said:

"It highlights the fact that same-sex couples throughout the state will continue to undergo significant harm and be treated as second class citizens until final resolution of the appeals process." 5

This "final resolution" is likely to be a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in mid-2015 or mid-2016.

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2014-AUG-26: 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard marriage equality cases from both Indiana and Wisconsin together:

In a single session, the Court heard oral arguments involving:

  • Three Indiana lawsuits, including one filed by Lambda Legal in 2014-MAR. All three cases are attempting to have state statutes banning marriage by same sex couples declared unconstitutional. The cases were combined during this hearing.

  • The Wisconsin case, Wolf v. Walker, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2014-FEB. It is attempting to have a Wisconsin Referendum 1 declared unconstitutional. It was a constitutional amendment banning marriage and civil unions by same-sex couples . The amendment was passed by 59% of voters in 2006. At the time, opposition to same-sex marriage nationally was about 53%. National opposition is now 45%. It is likely that if a reliable poll were taken today, results would indicate close to even support and opposition in Wisconsin.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above notes. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Jill Disis & Tim Evans, "Judge grants request to force Indiana to recognize couple's same-sex marriage," IndyStar, 2014-APR-11, at: http://www.indystar.com/
  2. "Indiana, Utah gay marriage bans struck down," Reuters, 2014-JUN-25, at: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/
  3. Michelle Pemberton and Cara Anthony, "Judge strikes down Indiana ban on gay marriage," 2014-JUN-24, Indiy Star, at: http://www.pal-item.com/
  4. John Newsome, "Same-sex marriages put on hold in Indiana by federal appeals court," CNN, 2014-JUL-01, at: http://www.cnn.com/
  5. Barb Berggoetz, "Indiana won't recognize last month's same-sex marriages, USA Today," 2014-JUL-09, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  6. Tim Evans, "Appeals court stops same-sex marriages in Ind.," USA Today, 2014-JUN-27, at: http://www.usatoday.com/
  7. Gerry Dick, "Viewpoint.com poll," as on 2014-AUG-02, Inside Indiana Business, at: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/
  8. "Public opinion: Same-sex marriage in Indiana," Wikipedia, as on 2014-AUG-02, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  9. Anne Sweeney, Meredith Rodriguez, "Lawyers for Indiana, Wisconsin grilled in court over gay marriage bans," The Los Angeles Times, 2014-AUG-24, at: http://www.latimes.com/
  10. "Federal appeals court weighs Wisconsin and Indiana gay marriage bans." The Guardian, 2014-AUG-26, at: http://www.theguardian.com/
  11. Jill Disis & Tim Evans, "Judges grill attorneys in gay marriage fight," Indianapolis Star, 2014-AUG-26, at: http://www.indystar.com/
  12. Neil Steinberg, "Dumb arguments against same-sex marriage don’t hide bigotry," Chicago Sun Times, 2014-AUG-28, at: http://politics.suntimes.com/

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2014-APR
Latest update: 2014-SEP-02
Author: B.A. Robinson
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