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Indiana: New lawsuits filed challenging state’s gay marriage ban

Opponents of HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana, hold up signs outside the House chambers where the House Judiciary Committee was holding a hearing to take testimony for and against it at the Indiana Statehous
Opponents of HJR-3, the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Indiana, hold up signs outside the House chambers where the House Judiciary Committee was holding a hearing to take testimony for and against it at the Indiana Statehous
(Photo: Charlie Nye/The Star)

New lawsuits are being filed in the state of Indiana challenging its same-sex marriage ban. According to the Indianapolis Star on March 14, gay-rights legal organization Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit on Monday and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana plans to file a lawsuit on Friday.

Overall, it will mark three lawsuits filed this month challenging Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. While Lambda Legal has filed on behalf of three couples who wish to marry in the state, the ACLU case has been filed on behalf of 15 plaintiffs, including two children of same-sex couples. In this case, not only is the state’s ban being challenged, but the state’s refusal to recognize gay unions performed in states where same-sex marriages are legal is also being challenged.

According to Sean Lemieux, an attorney working on the ACLU case, “discrimination” is at play in a major way.

“There is no justification for Indiana to treat these families as second-class citizens. The families in this case want the responsibility, security and dignity that only marriage provides, and their children deserve the same protections that other Indiana families enjoy.”

The lawsuits are just the latest in a wave of legal challenges that have taken place across the nation. Along with lawsuits challenging state bans in Florida and Arizona, Indiana plaintiffs are hoping for similar results as rulings states such as Oklahoma, Utah and Texas where same-sex marriage bans have been ruled unconstitutional.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller does intend to defend Indiana’s marriage definition statue, stating it as “his duty as Indiana’s attorney general to defend our state and the statute the legislature passed to the best of my skill and ability – and will do so here, both now and on any appeal.”

The timing of the lawsuits coincides with the Indiana General Assembly’s decision to delay a proposal to extend the state’s same-sex marriage ban into the state constitution.

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