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Federal suit filed against Indiana marriage statute

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While Indiana’s same-sex marriage amendment is on hold in the Legislature, a challenge to the state’s law banning same-sex marriage was filed March 7 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Four same-sex couples living in Clark and Floyd counties filed the lawsuit against Gov. Mike Pence, challenging the constitutionality of Indiana’s law that prohibits issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and does not recognize such marriages legally performed in other states.

In Love et al v. Pence, 4:14-cv-15, the couples are asking for an injunctive order directing the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; an injunction enjoining the state from denying same-sex couples the rights, burdens and benefits associated with lawful marriage; and an order directing the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The plaintiffs are represented by Clay Daniel Walton & Adams PLC and Fauver Law Office PLLC, both in Louisville, Ky.

“My clients are part of Indiana. They work there, they raise their children there, they pay taxes there,” attorney Dan Canon said. “My clients are certainly ready to see the same-sex marriage ban lifted.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said his office will defend Indiana’s marriage statute.

“As state government’s lawyer, I must defend the state’s authority to define marriage at the state level within Indiana’s borders,” Zoeller said in a press release. “People of goodwill have sincere differences of opinion on the marriage definition, but I hope Hoosiers can remain civil to each other as this legal question is litigated in the federal court.”

Attorneys representing the Indiana plaintiffs also represented same-sex couples in Kentucky who filed a similar suit challenging the commonwealth’s statute and constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Also, the constitutional arguments being made in the Indiana complaint were asserted in the Kentucky suit, Love et al. v. Beshear, et al., 3:13-cv-750.

Both suits claim the bans on same-sex marriage violated the due process and equal protection clauses in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In addition, the Indiana plaintiffs argue the state’s ban violates the First Amendment’s freedom of association and establishment provisions.

The Kentucky plaintiffs were given a victory when U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky Judge John G. Heyburn struck down the commonwealth’s marriage amendment and part of the marriage law on constitutional grounds.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has refused to appeal Heyburn’s ruling, prompting Gov. Steven Beshear to say he would then hire outside counsel to defend the ban.

Noting that constitutional arguments against same-sex marriage laws have been successful in federal courts across the country, Canon said the plaintiffs are confident the southern Indiana District Court will “do the right thing.”

 

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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