Today U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young ruled against Indiana’s statute banning marriage equality, making the Hoosier State the latest to see such a ban struck down in court since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its historic marriage rulings last June. In Baskin v. Bogan, Lambda Legal and local private counsel sued the state on behalf of same-sex couples who argue that Indiana’s ban on marriage equality violates the U.S. Constitution. In his ruling, Judge Young wrote, “In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”
“Today’s ruling is further proof that bans on marriage equality like the one struck down in Indiana today cannot withstand judicial review,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) legal director Sarah Warbelow. “Where you live should never determine whether or not you can marry the person you love, and today we congratulate the plaintiffs and their attorneys with Lambda Legal, the law office of Barbara Baird, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP for bringing America one step closer to nationwide marriage equality.”
The judge did not immediately issue a stay on his ruling, and also instructed all state agencies to provide marital benefits to same-sex couples.
Recent poll results from the Washington Post and ABC News show that 50 percent of Americans believe that gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection clause. Additionally, 56 percent of Americans and 77 percent of those under the age of thirty support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Today’s results are the latest in an ever-expanding trend showing Americans moving inexorably in the direction of supporting equality for same-sex couples.
There are over 70 court cases challenging discriminatory marriage bans across the country in 30 states and Puerto Rico. So far five federal appeals courts are presiding over 11 marriage equality cases over the coming weeks and months. The Sixth Circuit holds the distinction of being the only federal appeals court to date that will consider marriage cases from all states within its jurisdiction. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic marriage rulings last year, no state marriage ban has survived a federal court challenge.
Same-sex couples can legally marry in nineteen states and the District of Columbia, while 31 states have a law or constitutional amendment restricting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. Learn more about this and other marriage equality cases at www.americansformarriageequality.org