Hamilton County clerk voluntary dismissed from same-sex marriage appeal

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One Indiana county clerk has withdrawn from the state’s fight to maintain its ban on same-sex marriage.

On July 30, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion filed by Hamilton County Clerk Peggy Beaver asking for the voluntary dismissal of her appeal of a federal court’s decision which overturned Indiana’s marriage law. The appellate court has dismissed her as a defendant in Baskin et al. v Bogan et al., 14-2386, and Midori Fujii et al., v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Revenue et al., 14-2387.  

Beaver’s motion, also filed July 30, states she has decided not to join the state’s same-sex marriage brief filed with the 7th Circuit and has no additional arguments to add to the appeal.

Calls to Beaver and her counsel, Darren Murphy, were not returned.

According to the motion, Lambda Legal, the organization which filed the Baskin lawsuit, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana which is representing the plaintiffs in Fujii, did not object to the clerk’s voluntary dismissal.

Also, none of the appellants, including Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher, objected.

The other county clerks who are defendants added their names to the state’s appeal brief that was filed July 15 with the 7th Circuit. On July 28, the appellate court directed the Hamilton County clerk’s attorney to notify the court as to whether Beaver would remain a litigant.

Indiana attorney general spokesman Bryan Corbin said the Boone and Allen county clerks and the state of Indiana remain appellants in the Baskin case.

“The appeal will continue regardless,” Corbin said. “The state’s attorney, not the clerk’s attorney, is responsible for defending the state statute, and the ultimate deposition of the case likely would be applicable to county clerks in all 92 counties.”

Beaver stated in her motion that she is aware of her duty to follow all other orders regarding same-sex marriage issued from either the 7th Circuit or the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Henry Greene, a plaintiff in the Baskin lawsuit, was not surprised by Beaver’s decision. Before the challenge was filed, Greene and his partner applied for a marriage license in Hamilton County. They both met Beaver and from their conversation, Greene said he got the impression she supported the freedom to marry.  

“We’re happy,” Greene said. “We hope that it sends a message to the attorney general and others who continue to appeal that there are many people who are on our side and who understand.”



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