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[ATG] Zoeller: Court upholds marriage officiant statute as constitutional
Start Date: 12/3/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 12/3/2012
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – The State of Indiana won a legal victory Friday when a federal court rejected a legal challenge to the state law regarding who may officiate at marriage ceremonies.

U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker denied a motion for a permanent injunction sought by private plaintiffs who wanted to block enforcement of the state’s marriage solemnization statute, Indiana Code 31-11-6-1. The statute, passed by the Legislature, authorizes various persons including clergy, judges and other elected officials to solemnize marriage ceremonies, and makes violations a Class C infraction.

The legal challenge alleging the statute was unconstitutional and seeking to block enforcement was filed by the Center for Inquiry Inc. and named the Marion County clerk and prosecutor as defendants. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has a legal duty to defend state statutes from legal challenges, and the AG’s Office also defends county prosecutors in their official capacities. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today issued this statement:

"We appreciate the Court’s decision that upholds the constitutionality of the Legislature’s very reasonable requirement for determining who can solemnize a marriage for the public purpose of filing a marriage license at the county clerk’s office. The Court found that couples who wish to marry without involving clergy have many alternatives for doing so. My office will continue to defend the statute if necessary," Zoeller said.


NOTE: The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the legal challenge Center for Inquiry v. Marion County Clerk and Marion County Prosecutor is attached.


Contact Information:
Name: Bryan Corbin
Phone: 317.233.3970
Attachments For This Entry:
    > Federal Court ruling in legal challenge to marriage officiant statute
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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