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Indiana declares marriage equality illegal

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In an age where marriage equality is becoming the norm, state by state, Indiana has caused that issue to come to a screeching halt. According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on July 10, gay marriage is now illegal in the state of Indiana, despite the fact that the state's ban was recently overturned.

A U.S. District Court judge overturned Indiana’s ban on gay marriage on June 25. However, that ruling was stayed a few days later and is currently not in effect. Governor Mike Pence’s office issued a directive via memo instructing agencies that the gay marriage ban “is in full force and effect and executive branch agencies are to execute their functions as though the U.S. District Court Order of June 25, 2014, had not been issued.”

Gay marriage was actually legal for three days, but Governor Pence has instructed agencies that all gay marriage is illegal, including the marriages performed during a short period where a federal ruling was in effect. There is one exception. “The state will comply with the Court of Appeals’ individual order recognizing the marriage of Amy Sandler and Nicole Quasney.” The exception is due to the terminal illness of one of the women.

John Zody, Indiana’s Democratic Party Chairman, was not surprised. “Gov. Pence is embarrassing our state by ignoring these families, creating an unwelcoming environment for those who want to call Indiana home. No Hoosier should be treated as a second-class citizen.”

“What’s more, the governor can’t even face Hoosiers himself to tell them he’s shutting the door on equality. He has to do it through a staffer,” he added.

For couples married during the time it was legal in Indiana, their marriages are now null and void for tax purposes or other laws involving marriage. Travis Kouts married his partner during the three days when same sex marriage was legal. “It’s heartbreaking to find out that, essentially from a news alert, a breaking news alert on your phone, that what you thought was legal isn’t. It’s (Pence’s) responsibility to follow the law.”

The issue will inevitably end up back in the courts on appeal. How long Governor Pence will be able to stem the tide of marriage equality in Indiana remains to be seen.

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