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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. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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