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Motions in marriage lawsuits attack non-recognition of same-sex unions

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Claiming they have a fundamental right to marry, same-sex couples married outside of Indiana have filed separate motions asking the court to grant summary judgment in favor of their challenges to Indiana’s marriage law.

Plaintiffs in two lawsuits – Lee et al. v. Pence et al., 1:14-cv-00404 and Bowling, Bowling and Bruner v. Pence et al., 1:14-cv-0405 – argue Indiana’s non-recognition of their marriages legally solemnized in other states is a violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment. Also, the non-recognition prevents the couples from accessing tangible benefits and causes harm to their dignity.

“The right to have one’s marriage recognized by state authorities is inherent in the right to marry, without the right of recognition, the right to marry is meaningless,” the plaintiffs asserted in the Lee lawsuit. “The right to marry, of course, is a fundamental right which is deeply entrenched in American jurisprudence, and which necessarily entails the right to remain married and have one’s marriage recognized.”

The motions were filed April 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Plaintiffs in Bowling also make the charge that Indiana’s marriage law violates the Establishment Clause because it advances religion. The couples claim the state’s argument against same-sex marriage is a “sham secular purpose” that attempts to hide the real purpose of furthering certain Judeo-Christian interpretations of the Bible.  

“Allowing the Defendants and the State of Indiana to continue to define marriage based on these religious interpretations has the primary effect of advancing specific religious beliefs,” the plaintiffs wrote. “By enforcing a religious-based definition of marriage, the Defendants are no longer neutral, which the Constitution requires. Defendants’ enforcement of Indiana’s DOMA shows government approval to a specific set of religious beliefs, which has the effect of sending a message to those who do not share those religious beliefs that their viewpoints are not as valuable as the religious beliefs approved by the majority.”

In addition, the Lee plaintiffs, who are all first responders, filed a motion for preliminary injunction. They are asking the court to preliminarily enjoin the state from refusing to recognize their lawfully wedded spouses as beneficiaries on their pension funds.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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