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Court puts Indiana gay marriage ruling on hold

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A federal appeals court on Friday put on hold a judge's order striking down Indiana's gay marriage ban, bringing same-sex marriages to a halt and leaving those who've already tied the knot in legal limbo.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued the order two days after U.S. District Judge Richard Young had ruled that Indiana's prohibition on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The decision came shortly after Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, tired of waiting for Young to rule, appealed to the 7th Circuit.

Zoeller's spokesman, Bryan Corbin, said the attorney general's office would immediately let county clerks know about the decision. The Marion County clerk's office in Indianapolis, which handed out 120 marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday, had planned to open on Saturday to issue licenses, but announced after the ruling that it would not.

Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said he was disappointed but not surprised by the stay. Hoosiers Unite for Marriage spokesman Kyle Megrath said the group had delivered more than 12,000 petition signatures asking Zoeller not to pursue any appeals.

"More than anything, this is a terrible blow to the legally wedded Indiana couples and their families who were finally, after so long, recognized this week under Indiana law," Megrath said.

The attorney general's office argued it was premature to require Indiana to change its definition of marriage until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the issue, as is widely expected.

In staying Young's order requiring the state to allow same-sex marriages, the appeals court followed the lead of courts across the country, which have granted stays of similar rulings at either the district or appellate level until appeals can decide the issue.

Indiana law defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and the state has refused to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where it is legal. Young wrote in his ruling that such restrictions violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and noted that courts across the country have agreed.

"In time, Americans will look at marriages of couples such as Plaintiffs, and simply refer to it as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage," he wrote. "These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands we treat them as such."

Young's ruling allowed same-sex couples to file joint tax returns, receive pension benefits and have their partners listed as spouses on death certificates.

But how the stay will affect them remains to be seen. Legal experts say couples may need to enlist legal help to sort through the process.

Falk said he believes the marriages are still valid.

"If it's a valid marriage when you enter into it, it should stay valid," he said.

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  1. Major social engineering imposed by judicial order well in advance of democratic change, has been the story of the whole post ww2 period. Contraception, desegregation, abortion, gay marriage: all rammed down the throats of Americans who didn't vote to change existing laws on any such thing, by the unelected lifetime tenure Supreme court heirarchs. Maybe people came to accept those things once imposed upon them, but, that's accommodation not acceptance; and surely not democracy. So let's quit lying to the kids telling them this is a democracy. Some sort of oligarchy, but no democracy that's for sure, and it never was. A bourgeois republic from day one.

  2. JD Massur, yes, brings to mind a similar stand at a Texas Mission in 1836. Or Vladivostok in 1918. As you seemingly gloat, to the victors go the spoils ... let the looting begin, right?

  3. I always wondered why high fence deer hunting was frowned upon? I guess you need to keep the population steady. If you don't, no one can enjoy hunting! Thanks for the post! Fence

  4. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  5. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

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