The Supreme Court Wednesday overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The court also ruled against California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure that outlaws same-sex marriages in the state. But that ruling was narrow and at least at face value it does not seem like that ruling will have a big impact on Indiana’s marriage laws.
Gretchen Frazee sat down with by Deborah Widiss and Ryan Scott, associate professors at the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, to find out what the decisions mean for Hoosiers.
On the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling
Frazee: What does this mean for same-sex couples in Indiana?
Widiss: The way it might affect some people in Indiana is it’s possible that some couples who were married in Iowa or Minnesota that permits them to marry and then move to Indiana, it’s possible they might get some of the federal rights of marriage.
Frazee: You say possible, not definite, so what are we waiting on?
Widiss: It requires going through and looking at all the different federal laws at stake and seeing whether they specify in looking at a marriage to see where the marriage was celebrated or where the couple now resides.
On the Supreme Court’s ruling on Proposition 8
Frazee: A lot of people were hoping for a broad ruling but that’s not what we got is it?
Scott: The Supreme Court ducked the big question which was the equal protection clause that restricts marriage to a man and a woman and instead issued a jurisdictional ruling that I think a lot of people on both sides are going to see as disappointing.
Frazee: Indiana legislators are considering a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state and this year they actual said they postponed it because of this ruling they were waiting on. Does now give them the go ahead to vote on this amendment?
Widiss: They certainly can go ahead and vote on that amendment. I think it changes how they think about what they should vote on that amendment and I think that it’s evidence that sentiment is changing quickly and there’s growing acceptance of same-sex couples.
Scott: It’s striking how even a decision like the Proposition 8 today didn’t resolve anything, in fact it made this case a lot less legally significant, nonetheless is a big culturally significant moment.