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[ATG] Attorney General’s Statement on 7th Circuit Ruling
Start Date: 9/4/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 9/4/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – The State of Indiana will seek a stay -- as has been granted in other federal circuit rulings -- of the 7th Circuit’s ruling today that found Indiana’s marriage law unconstitutional, pending the expected review by the United States Supreme Court.

“It seems clear that a final resolution of the constitutional issues involving states’ authority over their marriage licenses will need a decision from our nation's highest court.  Since the Supreme Court has already issued stay orders in two Circuit decisions, it seems appropriate that today's decision also be stayed.  Hopefully, for the interests of everyone on both sides of these cases, the Supreme Court will make a ruling sooner rather than later," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in the consolidated lawsuit Baskin et al. v. Bogan et al. and affirmed a June 25 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young of Evansville that invalidated Indiana’s statute regulating marriage as between opposite-sex couples.  In the same ruling, the 7th Circuit also ruled similarly in a case involving Wisconsin’s marriage law, Wolf et al. v. Walker et al.  As the lawyer for Indiana state government, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office defended the Indiana statute from the plaintiffs’ legal challenge.

The 7th Circuit’s ruling does not become effective until the 7th Circuit issues a mandate. Until then, the stay the 7th Circuit issued on June 27, 2014, remains in effect. The Attorney General’s Office soon will file a motion for stay, urging the 7th Circuit to stay the effect of its ruling pending appeal. If the stay motion is granted, then the status quo will remain in place – and Indiana’s marriage definition will remain enforceable – until an appeal is concluded.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s precedent is to grant a stay of a lower court ruling invalidating a state marriage law.  The Supreme Court did so earlier this year in issuing a stay of the 10th Circuit in the Kitchen v. Herbert case involving Utah’s marriage law, and in issuing a stay of the 4th Circuit in the Bostic v. Schaefer case involving Virginia’s marriage law, while both cases are being appealed.

Defense of Indiana’s statute has been covered through the Attorney General’s Office’s regular budget approved by the Legislature in advance.  The case is assigned to a salaried attorney who does not charge billable hours and the State has not used outside counsel to defend its statute.  To prevent chaos and confusion at local courthouses, the Attorney General’s Office will continue to keep county clerk’s offices in the 92 Indiana counties apprised of developments in the case. The AG’s Office is notifying clerks that for the time being, marriage licenses should be granted to opposite-sex couples only.

In light of multiple legal challenges to state-level marriage laws working their way through federal circuits – including one Wednesday where a federal court upheld Louisiana’s marriage definition as constitutional – Attorney General Zoeller urged that the U.S. Supreme Court decide the multiple marriage cases during its upcoming term that begins in October.


Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
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  • Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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