From the Associated Press:
A federal judge has struck down Indiana’s ban on gay marriage, calling it unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled Wednesday that the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause in a mixed ruling involving lawsuits from several gay couples. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ruling means same-sex marriages can begin in the state. The Indiana attorney general’s office says it will appeal. Federal courts across the country have struck down gay marriage bans recently, but many of those rulings are on hold pending appeal. Attorneys on both sides of the issue expect the matter to eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court. It also wasn’t immediately clear what impact Wednesday’s ruling might have on a faltering movement to add a gay marriage ban into the Indiana Constitution.
UPDATE: Freedom To Marry reacts.
Today U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that Indiana’s state constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution, becoming the latest of more than 20 federal and state judges to rule in favor of the freedom to marry in recent months. The decision came after a temporary restraining order was issued in April, which ordered the state of Indiana to respect the marriage of a terminally ill woman and her partner, who are parents to two daughters.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement: “Judge Young held today that there is no justification for denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry, the latest in a unanimous wave of favorable rulings over the past few months. The judge noted the harm marriage discrimination inflicts on Indiana families, while benefiting no one. With more than 70 marriage cases pending and a strong majority of Americans backing the freedom to marry, today’s decision out of the heartland underscores that America is ready for the Supreme Court to bring an end to marriage discrimination once and for all.”
UPDATE II: Here’s the ruling, dig in.
UPDATE III: Marriages may commence immediately.
Indiana couples can start marrying immediately. The federal judge did not issue a stay on this ruling. Marion County Clerk Beth White said she is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her office at the City-County Building in Downtown Indianapolis. “The clerk’s office will be open until at least 4:30p.m. this evening to issue licenses. I will also conduct short, civil ceremonies on a first-come, first-serve basis for a voluntary $50 contribution to the Indiana Youth Group,” White said in a news release. Information on the wedding license process is available at www.indy.gov/clerk.