New ruling in Indiana strikes down marriage ban, fuels momentum in 7th Circuit

On August 19, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young issued a new ruling on the freedom to marry, striking down marriage discrimination in Indiana as unconstitutional. The ruling is the third distinct order on marriage in Indiana in the past year and the 37th pro-marriage court ruling since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Windsor v. United States.

The ruling, in Bowling v. Pence, is on hold pending further action from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which will hear oral arguments on the marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin on Tuesday, August 26. The decision further fuels the momentum for marriage in the 7th Circuit as we head into next week's landmark argument.

This decision from Judge Young also reinstated Indiana Governor Pence as a defendant in the marriage cases. Previously, Judge Young had dismissed claims against Gov. Pence, siding with the Governor, who said he had no authority to control whether or not same-sex couples in Indiana receive marriage licenses. However, because Gov. Pence has issued instructions to county officials in Indiana and clearly exerted his authority since the June 25 decision that paved the way for hundreds of Hoosier couples to marry for one day, Judge Young saw fit that the governor be reinstated.

Judge Young wrote:

The phenomenon that the court previously observed has continued to grow. Since issuing its prior orders, two circuit courts have found bans similar to Indiana’s to be unconstitutional. This court reaffirms that conclusion today. Additionally, the court, after witnessing the Governor do what he claimed he could not do, reverses course and finds him to be a proper party to such lawsuits. The court wishes to reiterate that it finds the Governor’s prior representations contradicting such authority to be, at a minimum, troubling.

This is the 37th pro-marriage court ruling since June 2013. Read about all 37 HERE. 

For information on the nearly 80 marriage cases currently working their way through state and federal court in 32 different states and territories, visit our Marriage Litigation resource.