Young knows gay marriage ruling upset some

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The federal judge who struck down Indiana's gay marriage ban said he's well aware his decision upset some people, but that federal judges can't let public opinion sway their decisions.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young said it's for the common good that federal judges are immune to political pressure, indifferent to opinion polls and not beholden even to the politicians who appoint them. That freedom allows them to concern themselves only with the cases before them, he said.

"You determine the facts, and you apply the facts to the law," he told the Evansville Courier & Press. "Our forefathers, in determining that federal judges have lifetime tenure and should be isolated from politics, turns out to be a very wise decision."

Young ruled last Wednesday that Indiana's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. His ruling allowed hundreds of gay and lesbian couples around the state to obtain marriage licenses around Indiana, and many of them were wed.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay Friday putting Young's ruling — and county clerks' ability to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples — on hold.

Young said his office received "a significant number of calls" after his ruling, but staff members handled those calls.

"I haven't talked to anybody, but they call in and, you know, we're here to serve the public and we can't ignore those calls. We have to answer them, talk to them, and listen," the judge said.

Young has a ready answer for anyone who might believe his ruling was judicial activism at its worst.

"They call it judicial activism if they don't agree with the decision," he said. "If they agree with the decision, then it's certainly not judicial activism. That means the judge is following the law and doing the right thing."

Young began his career not in courtrooms but in Democratic Party politics, when he helped with then-Sen. Birch Bayh's 1976 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old Iowa native has voted in Democratic primaries several times during his 24 years on the state and federal benches. He cast his last such ballot in 2008, the year Indiana's Democratic presidential primary assumed a pivotal role in the nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"Coming in to Evansville, not knowing a whole lot of people, becoming involved in politics was a way for me to meet a lot of people with similar interests," he said Friday.

Young was nominated for the federal bench in 1997 by then-President Bill Clinton to succeed retiring federal judge Gene E. Brooks. He took office in March 1998 after approval by the Senate.


  • no classes etc etc
    someone said "You can't grant some people certain rights and leave a group out." One the contrary! Many such examples exist to the contrary. Such as for minors. Or other types of incapacity based on age, felony conviction status, mental incompetence, citizenship, all of these "discriminate" between groups......... laws protecting property rights discriminate between the owners and non-owners..... shall we get rid of all those too? How about laws "discriminating" between prisoners serving sentencing in jail, and others not? Damn near every law has some kind of discrimination involved in one sense or another. So the notion that laws should not "discriminate' is linguistically meaningless. It's a whole lot of malarkey, some kind of naïve Rosseauvian Enlightenment sophistry, a verbal parlour trick to befuddle well meaning people into acquiescing to the extreme social engineering agenda of the radical homosexual lobby.
  • NOT
    the constitution does not say anything about "laws shall not be passed for purely religious reasons." that is not the first amendment. If we look at the First amendment it says in fact that "CONGRESS" shall make no laws and early American states were much involved with religion, democratically so. Oh America its all about getting its citizens to die with a mouthful of sand for O. I. L. and "democracy" and then not get to have it at home.
  • egregious
    What is even worse, discrimination piled upon animus, is that currently, under the unjust law as it is now, only women can have babies. Well president snow will not have it so. I hereby decree it every man`s right to have babies. So let it be written, so let it be done.
  • Legal Status of married couples and civil rights
    The legal status of Married can currently only be bestowed on opposite couples. that is a violation of the civil rights of same sex coupes. It would be like if the state of Indiana said it's perfectly legal for everyone in Indiana to smoke weed,...except white people. You can't grant some people certain rights and leave a group out. Also, you can't enact a law for purely religious reasons. That is a violation of the 'establishment clause'. Laws may only be enacted for secular reasons only. If you ask the average guy on the street why gay marriage should be banned and he will tell you that's what the bible says, and at exactly that point you lose the legal argument.
    • whatever
      well to be fair to the judge, he has to follow the US supreme court which already ruled how they ruled. so the fix is already in. but the idea that the constitution of 1787 or the fourteenth amendment prohibits a definition of marriage as confined to heterosexual couples would have been unthinkable to the framers of either. so I guess now the constitution just means whatever we want it to, whatever is popular with the kinds of lobbies that are active in filing these kinds of social engineering lawsuits, and calling all traditional and religious institutions bigotry. OK, whatever, as the teenagers say

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
    1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

    2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

    3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

    4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

    5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.