Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office announced late Friday that Indiana will likely participate in some way in the California case involving the definition of marriage that the U.S. Supreme Court accepted Dec. 7.
In August, Indiana co-authored an amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry, an appeal of the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that had found California’s marriage definition unconstitutional. The brief asked SCOTUS to take the case and reverse the Circuit Court.
On Friday, the U.S. justices took Hollingsworth and U.S. v. Windsor, which relates to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The act prohibits extending certain federal benefits of marriage to same-sex unions.
“With all due respect to those who have called for a truce from conflict on social issues, this is a legal question of central importance in our nation that only the United States Supreme Court can evaluate and determine with finality. We contend the people of each state – either through their elected legislators or directly by referendum – should have the authority to define marriage within their state, and Indiana stands firm in its vigorous defense of each state’s legal authority to recognize the traditional definition of marriage as a significant state interest,” Zoeller said in a statement.
The Indiana General Assembly approved an amendment to the Constitution in 2011 that would ban same-sex marriage. That amendment will need approved by a separately elected Legislature before the amendment would go before voters. If approved this session, the amendment could go before voters in 2014.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in both cases next spring and rule by the end of its term in June 2013.