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Indiana same-sex marriage ban struck down

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Indiana state seal

A federal district court judge has just struck down Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban. The ruling holds that the ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. There is no stay.

From the decision:

For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that Indiana’s same sex marriage ban violates the due process clause and equal protection clause and is, therefore, unconstitutional.

EqualityOnTrial will have more on this developing story, including a link to the decision, as soon as it’s available.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

UPDATE: The state’s notice of appeal is here: the case is being appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The state is also asking the Seventh Circuitdistrict court for a stay.


  • 1. debater7474  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:07 am


  • 2. davepCA  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:07 am


  • 3. Bruno71  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:09 am


  • 4. eizverson22  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I agree that sometimes the court's decision.<img src=>

  • 5. debater7474  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:11 am


  • 6. MichaelGrabow  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:12 am


  • 7. Bruno71  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Thank you. Wow, this has been quite the last 20 minutes or so.

  • 8. davepCA  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:28 am

    STRICT SCRUTINY applies to the Indiana decision!

  • 9. MichaelGrabow  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Beat me to it!

  • 10. Bruno71  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:34 am

    "Indiana couples can start marrying immediately. The federal judge did not issue a stay on this ruling."

  • 11. MichaelGrabow  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

    This brings us to over 45% of the US.

  • 12. F_Young  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Here's the new map:

    (I had nothing to do with it)

  • 13. MichaelGrabow  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:49 am

    It's weird, no one has updated the list that tracks the percentage of the US population.

  • 14. RCChicago  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I feel so much lighter!! How about everyone else?

  • 15. Ryan K.  |  June 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

    They are going to need to figure out how to color a state with an appellate ruling over turning their state ban just by virtue of being in that circuit (e.g. Wyoming, Kansas in the 10th).

  • 16. weaverbear  |  June 25, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Indiana? Utah?

    Somebody, pinch me! (Has hell frozen over yet?)

  • 17. jdw_karasu  |  June 25, 2014 at 10:55 am

    This is rather great given their haste and screwing up to get the Amendment on the Ballot. Poor guys won't get the chance to vote for bigotry since this whole thing will be done before Nov 2016. Instead, their lasting memory will be first their failure to get it on the ballot, then those Evil Activist Judge taking away their traditional marriage. :)

  • 18. Roulette00  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:02 am

    The decision, deliciously, includes a permanent injunction against writing other anti-same-sex marriage laws. The judge is obviously familiar with the local shenanigans.

  • 19. MichaelGrabow  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hopefully sooner than later, the entire thing will be one color.

  • 20. MichaelGrabow  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

    That's great.

  • 21. Corey_from_MD  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:18 am

    This is going totally fuck up NOM's day, week, month….

  • 22. ebohlman  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:25 am

    They're already jumping the gun; it at first looked as if the ruling in CO had come in and another ruling in WY had popped out from under the radar. But the 10th's decision hasn't overturned any of those bans yet; it just means that challenges to those bans will have an easy time succeeding and will be hard to appeal. The work still has to be done.

  • 23. scream4ever  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:29 am

    ^^^And no stays will be granted.

  • 24. MichaelGrabow  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I'm surprised IN has announced they will appeal with strict scrutiny being applied.

  • 25. ebohlman  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

    The 7th Circuit doesn't have to apply strict scrutiny just because the district court did; this was a summary judgment, so the 7th can completely redo the ruling if they want to.

  • 26. BillinNO  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Mighty quiet over at NOM…you can hear the crickets.

  • 27. FilbertB  |  June 25, 2014 at 11:55 am

    They are in the bunker.

  • 28. JayJonson  |  June 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Love the conclusion: "The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. 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. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a 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. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such. Today, the “injustice that [we] had not earlier known or understood” ends."

  • 29. JayJonson  |  June 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Strict scrutiny because marriage is a fundamental right. But rational basis in regard to sexual orientation.

  • 30. FilbertB  |  June 25, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    That is beautiful. I am about to read the ruling -and that passage is so eloquent and personally moving. Thank you.

  • 31. Corey_from_MD  |  June 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    They just released a statement of the usual, same old tired "condemnation" …

  • 32. Bose_in_SP_MN  |  June 25, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    And feed its fundraising frenzy, with little to no success.

  • 33. Bose_in_SP_MN  |  June 25, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Chief Judge Young took a fresh (in my memory, anyway) approach to the take-down of the 1972 Baker dismissal by the Supremes. Of course he cited Romer, Lawrence and Windsor. But first, he reviewed the status of 14th amendment cases at SCOTUS in the early 70s and after, noting "The Supreme Court decided Baker at a different time in the country’s equal protection jurisprudence."

    His examples: (1) 1971: The first decision striking down gender-based discrimination laws. (2) 1976: Upheld "legislation that the conduct is likely to end in a contribution to moral delinquency" (3) 1985: Hardwick ruled that “states were permitted to criminalize private, consensual sex between adults of the same-sex."

  • 34. Ragavendran  |  June 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Emergency Motion To Stay:

  • 35. JayJonson  |  June 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Yes, and note that the strict scrutiny they used is related only to the question of whether marriage is a fundamental right. They did NOT rule, as the Ninth Circuit did in SmithKline that sexual orientation is entitled to strict scrutiny.

  • 36. Roulette00  |  June 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    On the attorney general: "Zoeller's office previously vowed to appeal if Young ruled against the state. The office affirmed that position today. In a news release, the office also said it is analyzing the court's ruling and will communicate with county clerks on proper marriage license procedures they should follow in order 'to avoid chaos during the appeal."'

    "Avoid chaos" must be secret Republican lingo meaning "how do we disobey this legal ruling and prevent gay marriage, while making it LOOK like we are cooperating? How long can we stall, as we desperately plead for an emergency stay?"

    Fortunately, the injunctions didn't leave them much wiggle room.

  • 37. BillinNO  |  June 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    "Avoiding chaos": Definition- Blocking health coverage for the uninsured, denouncing equal pay for women, resisting campaign finance reform, thwarting comprehensive immigration legislation, avoiding the subject of black people generally, opposing meaningful environmental protection, and restricting the will of the people by gerrymandering districts, segregating them by race wherever possible, and fighting to keep the process of voting as difficult as possible for people who work for a living, students, the elderly, the poor, and the disabled. Because all these things could lead to chaos and we will not have that here!

  • 38. Ragavendran  |  June 25, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Scottie, the state is asking the district court for a stay, not the Seventh Circuit – at least, not yet :)

  • 39. BenG1980  |  June 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    "Until the United States Supreme Court determines that traditional marriage laws such as Indiana’s are unconstitutional, it is premature to require Indiana to change its definition of marriage and abide by this Court’s conception of marriage."

    So they're conceding that it's only a matter of time before SCOTUS rules against them, but they're nonetheless asking for a stay? Priceless.

  • 40. Ryan K.  |  June 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Is that really true? I thought if a circuit ruled and no appeal or certiorari is granted, it would apply to all of the states within the circuit. I didn't realize each state would need to have a judge within that state's federal district rule their ban unconstitutional as well.

  • 41. RnL2008  |  June 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    We all know a stay will be granted regardless of whether or not the State will prevail…….but that's okay……..the folks in Indiana have waited this long and another year will make it all the sweeter when SCOTUS rules that Marriage truly is a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT regardless of the gender of the other person!!!

    I was discussing this issue today and it's sad that I as a Lesbian have the right to marry some man, whom I've just met and NO ONE will question why I did it……but because I wanted to marry the woman who became my wife….all of a sudden that right is NOT only questioned, but folks stood in the way and tried to prevent it…… either marriage is a FUNDAMENTAL right or it's NOT, but if it's NOT, then it's NOT for opposite-sex couples as well!!!

  • 42. Margo Schulter  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    One fine point: SmithKline established a Ninth Circuit doctrine of “heightened scrutiny” for equal protection claims involving sexual orientation, but not specifically “strict scrutiny.” One interpretation might be intermediate scrutiny, the standard that applies in gender discrimination cases, although the Court is not more specific than “heightened scrutiny,” citing both Lawrence v. Texas (a Due Process case) and Windsor as examples where SCOTUS applied a level of scrutiny clearer greater than a rational basis test.

  • 43. ebohlman  |  June 25, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Semi-OT, but Susan Collins has (finally!) become the fourth Republican Senator to endorse marriage equality (right after the HRC endorsed her over her Democratic opponent). Would have been more impressive if she'd done it four years ago, but one must be thankful for small favors.

  • 44. scream4ever  |  June 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Yes but it'll be a very swift process.

  • 45. Zack12  |  June 26, 2014 at 12:52 am
    An article about the judge who dissented.
    Two makes me LOL at this article.
    1) The idea that we expected all the judges to keep ruling in our favor.
    While people questioned where Judge Holmes would end up, there wasn't a doubt from any of the articles or options by legal experts about the fact that Judge Kelly was likely to be the first judge to rule against us so no Mr. Eastman, this isn't the sign of some great hope.
    2) The idea he's good in some areas of civil rights doesn't negate the fact he thinks it's okay for same sex couples to be treated as second class citizens.
    No fluff piece is going to change the fact he's a bigot when it comes to us, period.

  • 46. F_Young  |  June 26, 2014 at 2:56 am

    "From a historical perspective, today’s date will forever be a very important day in gay American history"

    Box Turtle Bulletin has a new historical chart that shows the percentage of the US population to achieve decriminalization and marriage equality, with a short article.

    There are also three other articles lower down the page, on the Lawrence, Windsor and Prop 8 cases, and a nice map on the status of marriage equality in the US.

    Here's the quote from Scalia in the Lawrence v Texas sodomy case in 2003, that ties them all together:

    "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is 'no legitimate state interest' for purposes of proscribing that conduct… what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising 'the liberty protected by the Constitution'”?

  • 47. MichaelGrabow  |  June 26, 2014 at 5:50 am

    By that line of thought, the district and circuit courts need not exist. Everyone just start forming a GIANT line outside of the SCOTUS! Your case will heard eventually.

  • 48. dingomanusa  |  June 26, 2014 at 6:04 am

    “Hundreds of same-sex couples line up to apply for marriage licenses at the Marion County clerk of court's office Wednesday in Indianapolis after a federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage. The Marion County Clerk's Office had processed almost 90 marriage license applications and conducted 63 wedding ceremonies by 6 pm” Two different news stories with photos at
    and here

  • 49. KarlS  |  June 26, 2014 at 6:10 am

    "…Court's -conception- of marriage." An interesting choice of words there…

  • 50. domestic_god  |  June 26, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Aside from the delay in bringing marriage equality to the entire country, am I the only one who thinks it'd be sweet if the Supreme Court declined to take these appeals? Kinda like they'd be saying "Nope, the ruling is sound." Since the circuit courts have all ruled the same way (so far!) I would think it might be slightly less likely SCOTUS would take it up. But IANAL and I'm a little late to this discussion. Perhaps there are federal implications that would lead them to take it?

  • 51. Zack12  |  June 26, 2014 at 6:45 am

    If all the circuits are in agreement, then I don't see them taking it up.
    I don't think that will be the case forever though, there is no way on earth the 5th or 8th circuits will vote to uphold gay marriage.

  • 52. MichaelGrabow  |  June 26, 2014 at 8:58 am

    There are an awful lot of people who thought there was "no way" a lot of things that have taken place would have happened.

    You got to keep the faith!

  • 53. Japrisot  |  June 26, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I don't see any chance the Supreme Court declines to take a marriage equality case. As we have seen, the rulings from the district courts and now the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals can rest on quite different legal footings, even if they all have led to the same result. Allowing circuit court interpretations of the issue to stand without final resolution by the nation's highest court would create a patchwork of inconsistent jurisprudence that may have potential negative consequences down the road and is generally something the Supreme Court abhors.

  • 54. Margo Schulter  |  June 26, 2014 at 11:09 am

    SCOTUS may indeed want to take a marriage equality case, but after letting all or almost all of the circuits reach decisions first. That has a few advantages:

    (1) The Court gets the benefit of a range of rulings and rationales in making its decision;

    (2) Granting cert after the circuits have spoken prevents the granting of cert from cutting this process short by putting cases on hold which have not yet been decided at the circuit level; and

    (3) By letting marriage equality go into effect, in some regions for many months, before SCOTUS hears and then rules on the case(s) it has chosen, this strategy promotes a public impression of an historical SCOTUS decision which ratifies, rather than unilaterally commands, social change.

  • 55. TomPHL  |  June 26, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Joe.My.God is reporting that the Indiana AG is conducting a poll on whether to appeal the court ruling. I must admit that I find this weird. If you are the AG, who claims to just be doing his duty to defend state law, then shouldn't you be consulting with your legal staff as to whether there is any likelihood of success on appeal and deciding to go forward based on that. Of course the AG is probably not basing his actions on the demands of the law, but on the political consequences of his actions, both to himself and his party. Does anyone think this means he might not appeal?

  • 56. ebohlman  |  June 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I think it's just an (unlikely to be successful) attempt to avoid being held responsible for whatever action he takes.

  • 57. SeattleRobin  |  June 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  • 58. David_Midvale_UT  |  June 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I agree with your assessment; however, the Nine do not have to take the first case that comes to them and might decide to wait for that patchwork to fill in a bit before they take a case.

    Also. . . Some individuals may feel that inconsistency is better than creating another socially divisive and politically distracting situation like Roe v. Wade.

    Utah's Toady-in-Chief (Herbert) correctly observed that we all will be better off and can move forward with greater certainty if SCOTUS gives us the final word on the marriage equality question. Personally, I would rather see a few more circuit court opinions before the Nine weigh in.

  • 59. Bruno71  |  June 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I bet whatever this "poll"'s true result, the AG will claim a majority of Indiana residents behind his action to appeal. He's looking for cover, but there is probably only one outcome here.

  • 60. Bruno71  |  June 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    It's been an interesting endeavor to guess whether or not SCOTUS will deny cert on any cases. It's certainly possible they will. But my gut tells me that they just can't resist granting cert and having their say as soon as possible. I'm not sure it even matters much how the other circuits rule.

  • 61. Bruno71  |  June 26, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I'm thankful that Collins has been pro-LGBT in many ways before. She voted to repeal DADT and in favor of ENDA. However, I take no comfort in this. Maine has had ME for awhile now, and this should've been a no-brainer for someone with her record on LGBT rights. Since I don't see any ME issues coming up in Congress in the near future, I doubt this means much in the long run. I think it's awful how she played politics on this issue, but I guess she thought she'd struggle in her primary.

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