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Federal Judge rules Indiana marriage ban unconstitutional
From news releases
2014-06-25

This article shared 4694 times since Wed Jun 25, 2014
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From ACLU

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge ruled that Indiana's law banning marriage for same-sex couples, as well as its ban on recognition of marriages between same-sex couples performed outside of the state, is unconstitutional. Today's ruling encompassed three separate cases: Baskin vs. Bogan, Fujii v. Governor, and Lee v. Pence.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, the national ACLU, and the Lemieux Law Office of Indianapolis filed Fujii v. Governor on behalf of six couples, a widow, and two children of same-sex parents.

One of the plaintiffs, Midori Fujii, is a widow whose wife, Kris Brittain, died in 2011 after a two-year struggle with ovarian cancer. After Brittain's death, under Indiana law Midori was considered a legal stranger and could not make decisions about Brittain's funeral. Because their California marriage is not recognized in Indiana, Fujii was also required to pay more than $300,000 in state inheritance tax on all of the property that her wife left to her, including their shared home. If Fujii had been in an opposite-sex marriage she would have paid no inheritance tax on the property.

"Although Kris couldn't be here to see this day, I am so grateful that the state that we called home recognizes our relationship," said Fujii. "Nobody should have to contend with discrimination from their own government while mourning the loss of your wife."

The lawsuit was filed in March in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

"Thanks to the decision of Judge Young, Hoosier children no longer have to wait—with their mothers and fathers—for their families to be accorded the rights and dignity that only come with marriage," said Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana executive director. "Marriage is a commitment, declared privately and publicly, to love and honor and be responsible to and for each other. Same-sex couples want marriage, and finally it is possible in Indiana."

"Today is yet another victory in the fight to ensure that every couple has the freedom to marry," said Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project. "Across the country, more and more courts are agreeing with the majority of Americans who believe that all families should have access to the protections and dignity that only marriage provides."

More information, including full bios of the plaintiffs, can be found at: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/midori-fujii-et-al-v-indiana-governor-et-al .

From Freedom to Marry

New York — 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."

A record-high 59% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples, with majority support now in every region of the country, including the Midwest.

From Lambda Legal

(Evansville, IN, June 25, 2014) — Today, U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young ruled that Indiana's discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Lambda Legal challenged the law on behalf of five couples seeking the freedom to marry in Indiana or recognition of a marriage from another state.

Judge Young writes: "The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions — laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. 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."

"We're thrilled that the court ruled in favor of liberty and equality for all same-sex couples and their children in Indiana," said Paul D. Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. "As Chief Judge Young recognized, these families, and so many others across the state, suffer significant harm when they are wrongly denied the freedom to marry the one unique person they love. Indiana now joins the momentum for nationwide marriage equality and Hoosiers can now proclaim they are on the right side of history."

The case, Baskin v. Bogan, was filed on March 10, 2014 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Shortly thereafter, Lambda Legal filed a motion seeking immediate relief for Niki Quasney, Amy Sandler and their two children ages 3 and 1. Five years ago, Niki was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, enduring multiple surgeries and years of chemotherapy. After nearly 14 years together, the couple married in Massachusetts last year. In two separate decisions issued in April and May, the court ordered the State of Indiana to recognize their out-of-state marriage.

Last month, Lambda Legal urged the court to grant the freedom to marry to all Indiana same-sex couples and respect all out-of-state marriages by striking down Indiana's marriage ban in its entirety. Today's ruling joins the unbroken string of court decisions across the country to come down in favor of marriage equality.

"What an awesome day for Indiana. We are grateful that Judge Young concurs with recent court opinions and that he sees beyond our situation. Now, along with Niki and I, all couples in Indiana have the freedom to marry. We are especially happy for our children because they'll be growing up in state that values all families equally," said Amy Sandler

"We're thankful that we no longer have to worry about what would happen if one of us becomes ill and we have to rush to the hospital. We have waited for this moment since we decided to share our lives with each other.'" said Rae Baskin, lead plaintiff in the case.

Read the decision here: www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/baskin_in_20140625_entry-on-cross-motions-for-summary-judgment .

Read more about the families and the entire case here: http://www.lambdalegal.org/take-action/love-unites-us/indiana

Paul D. Castillo, Staff Attorney, and Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director, are handling the case Baskin v. Bogan for Lambda Legal. They are joined by Barbara Baird of the Law Office of Barbara J. Baird in Indianapolis as well as Jordan Heinz, Brent Ray, Melanie MacKay, and Dmitriy Tishyevich of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.


This article shared 4694 times since Wed Jun 25, 2014
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