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Same-sex plaintiffs argue the governor enforces marriage statute

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Plaintiffs in Love v. Pence, the first lawsuit filed in March challenging Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, filed their response to the state’s motion to dismiss their complaint, arguing the governor has the power to order county clerks to issue marriage licenses.  

Represented by Louisville attorneys at Clay Daniel Walton & Adams PLC and Fauver Law Office PLLC, the plaintiffs filed their opposition to the state’s motion in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.

Indiana is seeking to have Love dismissed on the grounds that the sole named defendant, Gov. Mike Pence, cannot provide relief. The Indiana attorney general contends the governor does not issue marriage licenses nor does he perform any other function that would recognize marriages solemnized in other states.

The four couples counter that as a “basic matter of civics,” laws are enforced through the executive branch. Therefore, since the governor is the head of the executive branch, he is the proper defendant.

Moreover, granting the state’s motion to dismiss would, in the extreme, mean employees in every county clerk’s office who actually take the marriage application would have to be named individually as a defendant, the plaintiffs argue.   

“Under Defendant’s theory, if the entity is not included as a defendant in the suit, the citizens of the state are just stuck with unconstitutional policy, and the Governor is powerless to intervene,” the plaintiffs’ assert. “There is no need for such complicated musings, because there is one entity, one person, who has the authority to direct change in all of these avenues. That person is the Governor.”

Love v. Pence, 4:14-cv-00015, is one of five lawsuits seeking to have Indiana’s statute defining marriage as between one man and one woman declared unconstitutional. All the cases are being argued before Chief Judge Richard Young.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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