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Suit Filed Against Indiana’s Marriage Laws

The Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is bringing the case on behalf of the Center for Inquiry, a national secular organization.

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Photo: Ernst Vikne (Flickr)

Indiana's constitution defines which groups and people can perform marriage ceremonies in the state.

A secular organization is filing suit against Indiana, claiming the state’s marriage statute is unconstitutional.

Indiana’s Marriage Statute spells out which people or groups are authorized to perform marriage celebrations in the state, including religious organizations and some elected officials.

The Center for Inquiry, a national secular organization, has a program that trains people to conduct marriage ceremonies. The Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is bringing the case on behalf of the Center.

ACLU-Indiana legal director Ken Falk says the statute violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution that says government cannot discriminate against non-religion in favor of religion. He says the lawsuit boils down to a simple matter of fairness.

“If you wish to be married within the belief systems of the Center for Inquiry by someone who is a celebrant, you’re simply not allowed to do so,” he says.

The Attorney General’s office says the lawsuit is a constitutional test of the state’s authority and that it will defend the legislature’s right to determine who can marry people.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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