Motions in marriage lawsuits attack non-recognition of same-sex unions

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Claiming they have a fundamental right to marry, same-sex couples married outside of Indiana have filed separate motions asking the court to grant summary judgment in favor of their challenges to Indiana’s marriage law.

Plaintiffs in two lawsuits – Lee et al. v. Pence et al., 1:14-cv-00404 and Bowling, Bowling and Bruner v. Pence et al., 1:14-cv-0405 – argue Indiana’s non-recognition of their marriages legally solemnized in other states is a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment. Also, the non-recognition prevents the couples from accessing tangible benefits and causes harm to their dignity.

“The right to have one’s marriage recognized by state authorities is inherent in the right to marry, without the right of recognition, the right to marry is meaningless,” the plaintiffs asserted in the Lee lawsuit. “The right to marry, of course, is a fundamental right which is deeply entrenched in American jurisprudence, and which necessarily entails the right to remain married and have one’s marriage recognized.”

The motions were filed April 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Plaintiffs in Bowling also make the charge that Indiana’s marriage law violates the Establishment Clause because it advances religion. The couples claim the state’s argument against same-sex marriage is a “sham secular purpose” that attempts to hide the real purpose of furthering certain Judeo-Christian interpretations of the Bible.  

“Allowing the Defendants and the State of Indiana to continue to define marriage based on these religious interpretations has the primary effect of advancing specific religious beliefs,” the plaintiffs wrote. “By enforcing a religious-based definition of marriage, the Defendants are no longer neutral, which the Constitution requires. Defendants’ enforcement of Indiana’s DOMA shows government approval to a specific set of religious beliefs, which has the effect of sending a message to those who do not share those religious beliefs that their viewpoints are not as valuable as the religious beliefs approved by the majority.”

In addition, the Lee plaintiffs, who are all first responders, filed a motion for preliminary injunction. They are asking the court to preliminarily enjoin the state from refusing to recognize their lawfully wedded spouses as beneficiaries on their pension funds.


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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.