Federal judge strikes down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage

LAWRENCEBURG, IN (FOX19) - Indiana same-sex couples rushed county courthouses on Wednesday and prepared to apply for a marriage licenses.
It happened minutes after a federal judge struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban, calling it unconstitutional. The decision orders Indiana to immediately recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.
Gov. Mike Pence says Indiana will comply with the ruling, but the Attorney General's office is asking for a stay, and plans to appeal.

"A lot of my friends are gay, lesbians.  I'm that they can be with who they want to be with," said Laura Groce of Lawrenceburg.
Wednesday's ruling really hits home for Groce, who is bisexual.
"For a lot of people, at least now they can go out, be happy together and be on paper instead of just a partnership," said Groce.

Outside a café in Lawrenceburg on Wednesday, Groce's friend Emilie Mitchell shares in her friend's joy.

"It's about time.  I think that everybody deserves to be with who they want to be with, who they love.  It's the right thing to happen," said Mitchell, also of Lawrenceburg.
For Mitchell, she doesn't see it any other way.  But, Wednesday's ruling has become the latest chapter in a lengthy debate.
"I was asked one time, 'Do you support anybody getting married?'  Sure.  Anybody can get married.  The definition of marriage is one man and one woman," said Charles Tassell of Citizens for Community Values.

Just hours after Wednesday's federal court ruling, Indiana's Attorney General's office announced plans for an appeal.  They've already noted their intentions with a federal appeals court in Chicago.
"This is something that is multiple religions, traditions, years of culture, years and years - a millennia of folks. This is not something that, 'Let's have a judge create something,'" said Tassell.
The Attorney General's office has asked the federal judge to stop implementation of today's ruling until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue. 

On Wednesday, FOX19 spoke with clerks in Dearborn, Franklin and Ripley counties.  In Dearborn, at least one couple has applied for a license. As of Wednesday afternoon, no one had applied in Franklin County or Ripley County.
So far, 19 states have legalized gay marriage.  Kentucky and Ohio are among 31 states that do not perform, or recognize, same-sex marriages. 

There is a hearing in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on August 6 to listen to arguments from both states.
In a statement from the Attorney General's office Public Information Officer, Bryan Corbin, he says:
"Late Wednesday, the Attorney General's Office, the Boone County Clerk and the Hamilton County Clerk, on behalf of the State of Indiana and its statute, filed an emergency motion for stay in U.S. District Court, pending appeal.  The motion asks Chief Judge Richard L. Young to stay, or postpone implementation of, his permanent injunction order finding the marriage definition statute unconstitutional.  The motion for stay is intended to prevent confusion and inconsistency between county clerk's offices regarding license issuance, while the appeal is pending."  

The U.S. District Court has not yet ruled.
Also late Wednesday, the AG's Office and Boone and Hamilton clerks filed a notice of appeal in U.S. District Court, formally notifying the Court that the defendants will appeal Wednesday's permanent injunction to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Attorney General's Office sent a communication to the county clerk's offices in all 92 Indiana counties, providing guidance on the Court's ruling. It noted that those county clerks named in the lawsuit (Hamilton, Allen, Boone, Porter and Lake) in the cases ruled upon Wednesday must comply with the Court's ruling or they would be subject to contempt of court.

Other county clerks in other counties are not under the direct jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court order, but as an officer of the court, the Attorney General's Office must encourage everyone to show respect for the judge and the orders that are issued.

In seeking a stay pending appeal, the Attorney General's Office said the state's lawyer will notify the county clerks if the stay is granted and its scope.

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