Criminal Justice

Judge Hears Oral Arguments On Same-Sex Marriage Cases

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May 2, 2014—By GRETCHEN FRAZEE, Photo Credit: Kat Carlton

 Above: Lambda Legal attorney Camilla Taylor and some of the case’s plaintiffs talk to the media after a judge heard oral arguments Friday.

 A federal judge could soon rule in a case challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

 U.S. Southern District Court Judge Richard Young heard arguments today from Lambda Legal, the group representing five same-sex couples, and the state Attorney General’s office.

 The state argued the legislature has the legal authority to determine how marriage shall be defined within Indiana’s borders.

 “Indiana’s Legislature has chosen in statute to define marriage in the traditional way between one man and one woman and to not legally recognize same-sex unions granted in other states. Moreover, the United States Supreme Court’s decision last year in the U.S. v. Windsor case continues to leave this state policy decision-making authority with states and their legislatures,” the Attorney General’s spokesman Bryan Corbin said in a statement.

 Solicitor General Thomas Fischer argued again that the state’s interest in traditional marriage is to encourage procreating opposite-sex couples to marry.

 Lambda Legal argues the state’s law is unconstitutional because it does not provide equal protection to same-sex couples. Attorney Camilla Taylor says same-sex couples and their children are irreparably harmed by the state’s law.

 “The state’s actually acknowledging that marriage gives benefits to children. It helps children when their parents can marry,” Taylor says. “And the state has no answer as to why children of same-sex couples should be denied those protections and that dignity.”

 Judge Young ordered Indiana earlier this month to recognize the out-of-state marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler. He said not doing so could cause the couple irreparable harm because Quasney has ovarian cancer and doctors do not know how much longer she will live.

 The judge’s order for Quasney and Sandler expires after 28 days, so he said he plans to rule on that case by May 8.

 The judge does not have a timeline for when he will rule on the broader case challenging Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

 Jashin Lin and Kat Carlton contributed to this report.

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