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Suit Filed Against Indiana’s Marriage Laws

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.

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