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Marriage equality Indiana: Judge rules ban on gay marriage unconstitutional

Last year, hundreds rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
Last year, hundreds rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

It’s been a long, hard fight in the state of Indiana for marriage equality, but on Wednesday, that fight was rewarded. According to a report by the Associated Press, a federal judge struck down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling means that gay couples in the state can wed immediately.

The victory in the state of Indiana is the latest in a string of rulings by federal judges throughout the nation that has ruled a state marriage ban as unconstitutional. The ruling also comes a day before the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young rode the momentum of same-sex marriage victories as he ruled that the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause because it discriminates against couples based on their sexual orientation. He wrote, “Same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana. 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.”

Indiana’s attorney general’s office is expected to appeal the ruling, but an appeal may depend on the rulings involving other states where gay marriage bans were struck down and are currently being appealed. Several gay couples represented by national gay rights group, Lambda Legal, originally filled the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ban. After the decision was handed down, Lambda Legal said, “Indiana now joins the momentum for nationwide marriage equality and Hoosiers can now proclaim they are on the right side of history.”

Until an appeal is officially filed, gay couples in the state of Indiana will be lining up at county clerk offices to obtain marriage licenses. Marion County Clerk Beth White Marion County is already gearing up to grant those licenses. On Wednesday, it wasn’t just a victory for same-sex marriage; it was a victory for marriage. As Young stated in his ruling, “in time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as marriage – not a same-sex marriage.”