U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young, a Clinton appointee, ruled Wednesday that Indiana’s state law banning same-sex couples from marrying or having their marriages from other states recognized is unconstitutional. The ruling takes effect today, though will likely be stayed as rulings in other states have been.
According to Young, “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.” He expects that, “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,” he concluded,” are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”
Indiana is one of the few states that bans same-sex marriage in state law only, and not in a constitutional amendment. The legislature stalled efforts to pass such an amendment in 2014, delaying its consideration until 2016 at the earliest.
Young’s decision follows an earlier ruling in the case guaranteeing recognition of the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney due to Quasney’s fight with ovarian cancer.
Indiana is the fourteenth state to have its ban on same-sex marriage overturned by a federal judge in the year since the Supreme Court overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act almost exactly one year ago.