Give Now

Indiana Will Not Recognize Hundreds Of Same Sex Marriages

Indiana is not recognizing the same-sex marriages that occurred directly after a court ruling that struck down the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Brett McNamara and Peterson

Photo: Jimmy Jenkins

Bart Peterson and Pete McNamara got married Wednesday in the Marion County clerks office.

The governor’s office says Indiana will not recognize the marriages of hundreds of same-sex couples that occurred after a federal judge last month struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

When the ruling came down, hundreds of same-sex couples rushed to courthouses across the state, where most were given marriage licenses and some were married on the spot.

Two days after the initial order, an appeals court granted a stay, halting the marriage ceremonies and instructing county clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until it could decide on the case.

While legal experts had indicated the state likely would not recognize the marriages that occurred during those two days, the official status of same-sex couples’ marriages have been uncertain until now.

In a memo sent out this week, Gov. Mike Pence’s general counsel  Mark Ahearn says state agencies should act like court order striking down gay marriage ban “had not been issued.”

Pence says he understands that there’s confusion created by different federal court decisions.

“But as governor of the state of Indiana, I have to see to it that the state of Indiana operates in a manner consistent with Indiana law and our general counsel has advised this is the proper course of action,” he says.

But Democrats and same-sex marriage advocates were quick to criticize the governor’s decision.

“Governor Pence is embarrassing our state by ignoring these families, creating an unwelcoming environment for those who want to call Indiana home,” Democrat Party Chair John Zody said in a statement. “No Hoosier should be treated as a second-class citizen.”

In Ahearn’s memo, he notes that the state will recognize the marriage of one same sex couple – Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler – as ordered by the federal appeals court.  Quasney and Sandler, who were married in Massachusetts last year, sought emergency recognition because Quasney is terminally ill with ovarian cancer.

Legal experts say the federal government will also still recognize the same-sex marriages performed in Indiana for legal purposes at the federal level. The U.S. Department of Justice has not issued a statement relating specifically to Indiana, but it has stated its position in the cases of other states including Michigan and Utah.

 

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated the memo went out today, instead of earlier this week.

  • Yung Patriot

    Sue the state and make them pay your court fees when you win.
    Huge waste of taxpayer money.

  • Scott Merms

    I can’t wait to move out of IN. I’m sick of paying taxes towards these backwards policies. Only a few more weeks…

  • ? Collins

    Am I missing something? This article (and others posted today = 7/9/2014) state
    that “The federal government will also still recognize the same-sex marriages performed in Indiana for legal purposes at the federal level.”

    What is the source for this claim? I really want to know. It’s my Indiana marriage that is the subject of this discussion. I can’t find any press releases by the US Justice Department mentioning the lawful same-sex marriages that took place in Indiana June 25-27, 2014.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Politics Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook