The state of Indiana’s same-sex marriage appeal will be heard before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on August 13. Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed the emergency appeal after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in June. Several thousand marriages were performed during a three-day period before the 7th Circuit Appeals Court halted them pending appeal.
“Same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana,” Judge Richard Young wrote in his 36 page ruling. “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.”
The 7th Circuit Appeals Court is combining challenges to gay marriage bans in two Midwestern states within its jurisdiction, one in Indiana and the other in Wisconsin. Federal judges struck down both the Indiana and Wisconsin bans in June. Combining the cases will allow the Appeals Court to expedite their ruling.
In related news, Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s chief legal counsel sent a memo last week to state agencies telling them to not recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in the state during the three day period between Judge Young’s ruling and the Appeals Court’s stay. If the Appeals Court upholds the lower court rulings, same-sex marriages will resume in both states. The governor would be powerless to refuse legal recognition, short of an appeal to the US Supreme Court. If the 7th Circuit reverses the lower court rulings, the fate of the couples whose marriages were performed would be in legal limbo.