Couples sue Indiana over same-sex marriage ban


by Brooke Hasch

Associated Press

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 7 at 7:47 PM

   LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Four couples from southern Indiana are asking a federal judge to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
   The couples are suing the state of Indiana in a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in New Albany that seeks to overturn an Indiana law that declares same-sex marriages void, even if another state recognizes the union.
   The plaintiffs and their attorneys met with reporters Friday afternoon in Louisville, Ky., and said the recent debate over a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Indiana spurred their suit.
   The lawsuit comes on the heels of multiple rulings around the nation striking down same-sex marriage bans in states ranging from Texas to Kentucky.

Ind. Attorney General Greg Zoeller made a statement about defending the state's Constitution in this press release:

Today Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced that his office will defend Indiana’s statutory marriage definition from a legal challenge filed today in federal court.

“As Indiana's Attorney General I will represent our state and defend our statute now and on any appeal to the best of my skill and ability, as I swore an oath to do.  As state government’s lawyer, I must defend the state’s authority to define marriage at the state level within Indiana’s borders.  People of goodwill have sincere differences of opinion on the marriage definition, but I hope Hoosiers can remain civil to each other as this legal question is litigated in the federal court,” Zoeller said.

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office previously has successfully defended Indiana’s marriage-definition statute from other legal challenges in state court.  In January 2013, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office was one of the lead authors of two amicus briefs filed in the United States Supreme Court in support of other states’ laws defining marriage in the traditional way, in the cases Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor.

The Attorney General as defendant’s lawyer has not yet been served with the legal challenge announced today, Love et al v. Pence, but Zoeller said his office is prepared to defend the Indiana statute from the plaintiffs’ lawsuit.