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Lawsuits Piling Up Against Indiana’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban


Photo: Simon Thompson

Rob Macpherson and Steven Stolen, two plaintiffs in the ACLU lawsuit, discuss why they are challenging the state's marriage laws at a press conference.

Four lawsuits have been filed over the past week challenging Indiana‘s marriage law.

The ACLU of Indiana announced today it was suing in federal court in Indianapolis on behalf of 13 people, including five same-sex couples, children belonging to two of the couples, and a woman whose spouse died in 2011.

The widow, Midori Fujii, who married partner Kris Brittain in California in 2000, says she was not allowed to make funeral arrangements when Brittain died of cancer.

Fujii also says she was required to pay more than $300,000 in inheritance taxes on property Brittain left to her because Indiana did not recognize their marriage.

If Fujii had been in an opposite-sex marriage, she would have paid no inheritance tax.

ACLU Legal Director Kenneth Falk  says that the grounds for the lawsuit are strong.

“I think the law really has been changing along with the times, dealing with same-sex marriage which is approved of by the majority of Americans, and I think the law is very favorable,” he says.

A second lawsuit, also filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, was filed by a couple married in Iowa who now live in Indianapolis and a woman who was also married in Iowa, but who wants Indiana to recognize her marriage so she can seek a divorce from her wife.

A suit was filed in Indianapolis on Thursday by the gay rights group Lambda Legal on behalf of three lesbian couples who were denied marriage licenses by clerks in Boone, Porter and Lake Counties.

A federal suit was also filed last Friday in New Albany by four same-sex couples.

The cases are all different, but federal courts could decide to combine them.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller has said repeatedly that he will defend the state‘s marriage law in court. Some attorneys general around the country have chosen not to.

Network Indiana contributed to this report.

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