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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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