State Forges Ahead With Marriage Law Defense

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The state of Indiana is pursuing a stay in a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit concerning its ban on same-sex marriage. A three-judge panel in Chicago voted Thursday to uphold a district court decision to invalidate the state law. Attorney General Greg Zoeller is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up to take up the case next month. Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who wrote the court's opinion, said children born out of wedlock "would be better off both emotionally and economically if their adoptive parents were married," regardless of the sex of the parents.

You can view the 7th Circuit opinion by clicking here.

September 4, 2014

Attorney General's Statement on 7th Circuit Ruling

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The State of Indiana will seek a stay -- as has been granted in other federal circuit rulings -- of the 7th Circuit's ruling today that found Indiana's marriage law unconstitutional, pending the expected review by the United States Supreme Court.

"It seems clear that a final resolution of the constitutional issues involving states' authority over their marriage licenses will need a decision from our nation's highest court. Since the Supreme Court has already issued stay orders in two Circuit decisions, it seems appropriate that today's decision also be stayed. Hopefully, for the interests of everyone on both sides of these cases, the Supreme Court will make a ruling sooner rather than later," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in the consolidated lawsuit Baskin et al. v. Bogan et al. and affirmed a June 25 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young of Evansville that invalidated Indiana's statute regulating marriage as between opposite-sex couples. In the same ruling, the 7th Circuit also ruled similarly in a case involving Wisconsin's marriage law, Wolf et al. v. Walker et al. As the lawyer for Indiana state government, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office defended the Indiana statute from the plaintiffs’ legal challenge.

The 7th Circuit's ruling does not become effective until the 7th Circuit issues a mandate. Until then, the stay the 7th Circuit issued on June 27, 2014, remains in effect. The Attorney General's Office soon will file a motion for stay with the United States Supreme Court, urging the high court to stay the effect of the 7th Circuit's ruling pending appeal. If the stay motion is granted, then the status quo will remain in place - and Indiana's marriage definition will remain enforceable - until an appeal is concluded.

The U.S. Supreme Court's precedent is to grant a stay of a lower court ruling invalidating a state marriage law. The Supreme Court did so earlier this year in issuing a stay of the 10th Circuit in the Kitchen v. Herbert case involving Utah's marriage law, and in issuing a stay of the 4th Circuit in the Bostic v. Schaefer case involving Virginia's marriage law, while both cases are being appealed.

Defense of Indiana's statute has been covered through the Attorney General's Office's regular budget approved by the Legislature in advance. The case is assigned to a salaried attorney who does not charge billable hours and the State has not used outside counsel to defend its statute. To prevent chaos and confusion at local courthouses, the Attorney General's Office will continue to keep county clerk's offices in the 92 Indiana counties apprised of developments in the case. The AG's Office is notifying clerks that for the time being, marriage licenses should be granted to opposite-sex couples only.

In light of multiple legal challenges to state-level marriage laws working their way through federal circuits - including one Wednesday where a federal court upheld Louisiana's marriage definition as constitutional - Attorney General Zoeller urged that the U.S. Supreme Court decide the multiple marriage cases during its upcoming term that begins in October.

Source: The Office of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

September 4, 2014

Governor Pence Statement on 7th Circuit Ruling

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Governor Mike Pence issued the following statement regarding today's ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"I'm grateful for the efforts of the Attorney General to defend Indiana's marriage laws before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. I have instructed my General Counsel to carefully review this decision. While I continue to hope that the right of the state of Indiana to enact laws concerning the institution of marriage will be upheld when this matter reaches the Supreme Court of the United States, Hoosiers may be assured, as my administration has done throughout this case, we will continue to uphold the rule of law in all executive branch operations as this matter moves to the highest court in the land."

Source: The Office of Governor Mike Pence