ILNews

Judge says no to Love but yes to marriage

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Three-and-a-half months were all the time needed to get Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage overturned.

Five lawsuits challenging the state marriage law were filed after the 2014 legislative session ended, the first dated March 7. On June 25, U.S. Judge Richard Young issued a ruling agreeing with plaintiffs that Indiana’s marriage law is unconstitutional.
 

sanders-steve.jpg Sanders

“It’s not exactly ho hum, but it is part of a larger pattern,” said Steve Sanders, professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He noted federal courts have struck down similar laws in other states.

Young, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, granted summary judgment in part for the plaintiffs in Lee, et al. v. Pence, et al., 1:14-CV-00406; Fujii, et al. v. Pence, et al., 1:14-CV-00404; and Baskin, et al. v. Bogan, et al., 1:14-CV-0405. He found – as federal judges across the country have found – that Indiana’s law prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

In his ruling, Young acknowledged his decision was not the first.

“This court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue,” he wrote. “In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional.”


richard young Young

Within hours of Young’s ruling, the Indiana attorney general’s office filed an emergency motion for stay pending appeal in U.S. District Court. However, when Young did not issue a ruling immediately, the state turned to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals late in the day June 27.

Two hours later, the 7th Circuit granted the stay. The AG’s office borrowed a phrase from the same-sex plaintiffs by telling the Circuit Court that Young’s order threatened “irreparable harm” to the defendants because it alters the meaning of marriage in Indiana and it creates confusion.

Civic and religious

Young foreshadowed his historic decision when he ordered the state to recognize the same-sex marriage of Indiana residents Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler. The couple is part of the Baskin lawsuit, but they filed for emergency relief because Quasney is in the final stages of her battle with cancer.

Once that restraining order was issued, Sanders said there was no reason to believe that Young would reverse his thinking. Young was unlikely to come up with a reason to uphold Indiana’s marriage statute that other federal judges had not put forth in their respective marriage rulings.

Young concluded that, “In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as marriage – not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street.”

Robert Katz, professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, would have liked the decision to have made the distinction between civil marriage and religious marriage. He worries the decision might be interpreted as saying it is wrong for people to be opposed to marriage between same-sex couples in their religious life.

Katz is a member of the legal team representing the plaintiffs in Lee, et al. v. Pence, et al.

He believes many religious conservatives will continue to reject same-sex relationships.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have a civic duty, Katz continued, to explain their views in terms that can be understood by people who do not share their religious beliefs. And proponents have to recognize that “reasonable, kind and good Americans” can think same-sex relationships are morally wrong.

“To move forward, both sides must concede a difference between civil or state-sanctioned marriage and religious marriage,” Katz said.

Dismissal

As part of his ruling, Young dismissed the first marriage lawsuit filed, Love, et al. v. Pence, 4:14-CV-00015. Gov. Mike Pence was the only named defendant in the Love case.

The judge agreed with the attorney general that Pence was not the proper defendant. As governor, he neither issues marriage licenses nor performs any official function regarding marriage so the plaintiffs’ injuries were not caused by the governor and cannot be redressed by him.

Landenwich, attorney on the legal team representing the plaintiffs in Love, said Young’s analysis of the governor’s function was problematic for future constitutional questions.

She questioned who is in charge of the enforcement of state laws if not the governor. The ruling, she said, raises the larger issue of who is the proper defendant when there is challenge to the state statutes or constitution. Future plaintiffs may not know who to sue.

On June 30, Lambda Legal, the national gay rights organization that filed Baskin, asked the 7th Circuit for an emergency motion that would require Indiana to continue recognizing the marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler. Young had granted relief in a separate ruling that barred the state from enforcing its marriage laws to this couple specifically since Quasney is terminally ill.

Also, plaintiffs’ attorneys and the state are disputing the scope of the 7th Circuit’s stay. Both Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana contend the same-sex marriages performed in the window between Young’s ruling and the Circuit Court’s stay are valid. The Indiana attorney general’s office said the status of the marriages is unclear and possibly something a court will need to determine.

Paul Castillo, attorney at Lambda Legal, said the validity question was answered after Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in December 2013. After a stay was entered, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah ruled in a separate case that vows exchanged during the window in the beehive state were valid.

Utah has filed a motion to stay.

Even while in legal limbo at the state level, Indiana same-sex couples who were married after Young’s decision may get recognition from the federal government. Castillo pointed out when a marriage law has been overturned in other states, the federal government has considered those marriages as valid even while a stay is in place.

Shift

Katz expects the debate over same-sex marriage will make a shift from the question of whether gays and lesbians can marry to whether individuals who are opposed have to facilitate the marriage.


katz-robert-mug Katz

The issue bubbled up in New Mexico in 2007 when a photographer, citing her religious beliefs, refused to take pictures of a same-sex ceremony. Since then, businesses in Colorado, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington state have all objected to providing services for gay weddings.

Earlier this year the Arizona Legislature passed a bill that would have allowed business owners to refuse service to individuals for religious reasons. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the measure.

Katz said the business owners who are refusing to serve same-sex couples are not preventing the marriages but are clear that they do not want to do anything to help facilitate the union.

“It’s going to be ugly,” Katz said of the shift. “It’s going to be uglier” than the fight for same-sex marriage.•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

ADVERTISEMENT