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Lambda Legal challenges Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Indiana state sealLambda Legal has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Indiana challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The suit was filed on behalf of three same-sex couples, who allege that the ban violates the federal Constitution’s Equal Protection and Due Process principles:

The suit, filed on behalf of of three lesbian couples from Whitestown, Chesterton and Munster, argues that the couples’ equal protection rights are being violated because they can’t marry in Indiana and the state won’t recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The suit was filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana; a similar lawsuit was filed last week by four couples from southern Indiana.

“Same-sex couples and their families in the Hoosier state are vulnerable every day that they are denied the freedom to marry,” said Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal.

“Many families are helped and no one is hurt when same-sex couples are treated fairly by their government. Even if couples travel out of state to marry they will still be denied any respect by the state of Indiana and there are many important federal benefits, such as Family Medical Leave, that will be denied because those benefits are based on whether or not the home state respects the marriage,” said Castillo.

Lambda Legal’s press release on the filing is here.

This is the second lawsuit filed in Indiana, a state that only has a statutory ban on same-sex marriage. The earlier challenge received some criticism because it was filed by groups outside the state, and no input was sought from Indiana’s LGBT groups.

The complaint in the Lambda Legal case can be read here. The case is called Baskin v. Bogan.


  • 1. StevenJ  |  March 14, 2014 at 10:29 am

    4 suits in Indiana now:

  • 2. Michael Grabow  |  March 14, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Beating down the doors, I love it.

  • 3. davep  |  March 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I'm not sure what to think about these situations with multiple trials going on in the same jurisdiction. Unless the trials are examining different legal questions, I wonder if it would be better strategy for these to be combined as one trial with more plaintiffs rather than separate trials. The idea being that it would allow our side to pool our resources, etc. Thoughts?

  • 4. John  |  March 14, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Completely in agreement. What a waste of resources to double up like this.

  • 5. Ragavendran  |  March 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Are all of them in the same district court? This resembles the "judge shopping" concept that is described in the second paragraph of this article:

  • 6. davep  |  March 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    There may be multiple cases, but aren't they all still randomly assigned to judges? How does having multiple cases achieve something like 'judge shopping'?

  • 7. Ragavendran  |  March 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    If four different judges are assigned to the four cases, then you can pick the most liberal judge and petition for all the cases to be consolidated with that case. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not sure how this would work – this may result in re-randomizing judge-assignment. But even if you don't consolidate, like Zack12's comment below, the likelihood of one of the cases being assigned to a liberal judge (and hence living long) increases with the number of lawsuits filed.

  • 8. Zack12  |  March 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    It's death by a 1000 paper cuts.
    I'd say go for it, that way if one group gets dismissed there are others way that can still go foward.

  • 9. Larry  |  March 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Isn't it more likely that for judicial economy, some (or all) of the cases will be consolidated?

  • 10. Zack12  |  March 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm
    Another state, another ruling in our favor.. got to love it.

  • 11. Ron B  |  March 14, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Where is the news of the lawsuit filed in Arizona?

  • 12. Mike in Baltimore  |  March 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    And another suit filed in Indiana. The count is now up to five in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana this month.

  • 13. adamvergis  |  March 18, 2014 at 5:41 am

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  • 14. Equality On TrialOne same&hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 1:04 am

    […] and a preliminary injunction was filed by Lambda Legal. The lawsuit, Baskin v. Bogan, was filed in March along with at least four other lawsuits filed by different organizations and at least one […]

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