By Richard A. Mann, Richard A. Mann PC
After an expedited briefing schedule and oral arguments, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's order in three of the same-sex marriage cases, which were consolidated as Baskin v. Bogan, holding that the ban against and non-recognition of same-sex marriages in Indiana are unconstitutional. The Seventh Circuit ruled under the Equal Protection Clause and held that the purported justification of responsible procreation was not even a reasonable basis to ban such marriages and that more than a reasonable basis would be required as the discrimination affected a suspect class. The court focused on the impact of these statutes on children and found that if children are better off in families with married parents as proponents of the statute argued, this must be true whether these are biological or adoptive parents. The Seventh Circuit stayed the ruling pending petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari for the consolidated cases from Indiana, along with similar cases from Wisconsin, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Utah. On October 7, 2014, the Seventh Circuit issued the mandate of its order. Therefore, the statute banning marriages between members of the same sex and the statute denying recognition of out-of-state marriages between members of the same sex are unconstitutional and no longer good law in Indiana. The Attorney General, after the mandate was issued, has ordered the county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples just as they would to opposite-sex couples. Furthermore, with the lifting of the stay in Baskin v. Bogan, the stay in Bowling v. Pence was similarly lifted. The district court's order for stay specified that it was in place until the Circuit Court ruled in that case or the related cases. Therefore, state employees can now receive spousal benefits for same-sex spouses.
In Bruner v. Ross, an appeal of the dismissal of a same-sex divorce to the Indiana Court of Appeals, the appellant has requested that the court remand the case to the trial court for final hearing of her petition for dissolution in light of the recent denial of certiorari by the United States Supreme Court.
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