Recognition of same-sex unions in Indiana
|Legal recognition of
Indiana does not recognize same-sex unions. Same-sex marriage has also been prohibited by statute.
Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act states that: "Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized." This law came into effect in 2004. A law enacted in 1997 forbids the recognition of same-sex marriages established in jurisdictions outside Indiana.
A lawsuit brought in 2002 by the ACLU on behalf of 3 same-sex couples seeking marriage rights and challenging a 1986 law that limited marriages to male-female couples failed in Marion County superior court in May 2003. The judge ruled that restricting marriage to different-sex couples "promotes the state's interest in encouraging procreation to occur in a context where both biological parents are present to raise the child." Two of the couples had formed civil unions in Vermont in 2000. After that ruling was upheld by the court of appeals in January 2005, when the third couple had formed a Vermont civil union and one couple had married in Canada as well, the plaintiffs decided not to appeal to the state Supreme Court to avoid a negative outcome there that might influence other state courts.
On November 26, 2012, Indiana Equality Action published a study researched by law students from the LGBT Project at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law titled "More Than Just a Couple: 614 Reasons Why Marriage Equality Matters in Indiana." The study detailed the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage found in 614 laws in the Indiana Code. It said that these laws show that marriage discrimination in the state not only denies many legal rights to same-sex couples but also denies the public protection from conflicts of interest from activities that are prohibited for opposite-sex married couples but not for same-sex couples.
Constitutional Amendment Proposals
Since 2004, there has been an annual effort on behalf of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Indiana. In 2010, the proposal passed the Senate 38-10, but the House of Representatives, which had a Democratic majority, took no action, failing even to schedule a hearing on the legislation.
Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
The approval of an identical amendment by both houses during the 2013-2014 legislative session is required to place the amendment on the state ballot in November 2014. In December 2012, Gov. Mitch Daniels, without taking a position on the proposed amendment, said that business leaders had expressed concern that it would restrict their policies toward same-sex couples. He said: "They wouldn't want their ability to offer benefits and that sort of thing limited. They think it's fair. They think it's important at least in case of some of their employees." On October 28, 2013, Indiana University announced its opposition to the proposed amendment. In November 2013, legislative leaders announced that the legislature would address the amendment in its next session. House Speaker Brian Bosma, a proponent of the measure, said that "This is not the most important issue facing us by far. We have to deal with the issue with dignity and respect...and bring this 12-year discussion to a conclusion." On December 4, the six Catholic bishops of Indiana issued a statement that, without referencing the legislation, reiterated their position that marriage is "the intimate communion of life and love between one man and one woman."
The language of the joint resolution was introduced in the 2014 legislature as HJR3 on January 9. A companion bill was also introduced that provided clarifying language directing that the proposed constitutional amendment would ban same-sex marriages and civil unions but not domestic partnerships. Bosma said it was aimed at reassuring universities and localities that the benefits they provide employees under the designation domestic partners would not be affected by the adoption of the constitutional amendment, though others in the legislature disputed whether the language of the bill, if adopted, could control the interpretation of the constitutional amendment. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the proposed amendment on January 13 but took no vote. On January 21 Bosma moved the proposed amendment to the Elections and Apportionment Committee. On January 22, that committee approved the proposed amendment by a vote of 9 to 3 with one absence. On January 27, the Indiana House voted 52-43, with 29 Democrats and 23 Republicans in favor, to remove the second sentence from the legislation and on January 28, the House approved the shortened version in a 57-40 vote. On February 10, the Senate Rules Committee approved the identical one-sentence version in a 8-4 vote, and the Senate approved that version in a 32-17 vote on February 17. The text adopted was:
Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana.
If approved by both houses of the legislature in another session, that language can be presented to the voters no sooner than November 2016.
On March 7, 2014, attorneys from Clay Daniel Walton & Adams, the same firm that initiated a challenge to Kentucky's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of four same-sex couples seeking the right to marry in Indiana. The suit, Love v. Pence, names Indiana Governor Mike Pence as defendant. Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced he would "defend the state's authority to define marriage at the state level within Indiana's borders".
On March 13, Lambda Legal filed a similar lawsuit, Baskin v. Bogan, in the same court on behalf on three same-sex couples, all women. It named Attorney General Greg Zoeller and three county clerks as defendants.
Several polls have asked Indiana residents whether they favor or oppose a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
|For Ban on Same-Sex Marriage||Against Ban on Same-Sex Marriage||Undecided|
|WISH-TV/Ball State University||November, 2013||?||± 4.8%||38%||58%||4%|
|WPA Opinion Research||September 24–25, 2013||504||± 4.4%||62%||33%||6%|
|Bellwether Research||September 17–19, 2013||800||± 3.5%||45%||48%||7%|
|Bellwether Research||April 18–21, 2013||600||± 4%||50%||46%||7%|
|Hoosier Survey||November 12–24, 2012||?||± 4.5%||38%||54%||8%|
|Howey/DePauw Poll||October 28–30, 2012||?||± ?||48%||45%||7%|
|Greenberg Quinlan Rosner||March 10–13, 2011||?||± ?||43%||47%||7%|
Currently there is no recognition of domestic partnerships at the statewide level in Indiana.
On August 13, 2012, the Indianapolis City-County Council, in a 20-8 bipartisan vote in favor of establishing domestic partnerships for all married and unmarried employees of the city and county. On August 23, 2012, Mayor Greg Ballard signed it into law. On January 1, 2013, the law went into effect.
A November 2012 poll, taken by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University and WISH-TV/Ball, found that 45% of Hoosiers support same-sex marriage, 45% opposing it, and 10% have no opinion. It also found that 55% of Hoosiers support civil unions.
A November 2013 poll, taken by WISH-TV/Ball, found that 48% of Hoosiers support same-sex marriage, 46% opposing it, and 6% have no opinion.
- Indiana Marriage Amendment (SJR15, HJR7 and HJR 8) Frequently Asked Questions
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- Schneider, Mary Beth (November 26, 2012). "Ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana could open Pandora's box of legal challenges". Indiana Star. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Smith, Brandon (November 26, 2012). "Report: Marriage Amendment Impacts 600 Legal Provisions". Indiana Public Media. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- "Court: Ind. gay marriage ban cannot invalidate marriages of transgender spouses". LGBTQ Nation. December 23, 2013.
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- Bangert, Dave (December 31, 2013). "Bracing for the flyover view of Indiana on marriage amendment". Journal Courier (Lafayette). Retrieved January 4, 2014.
- "Daniels says businesses talking gay marriage". Herald Bulletin. December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 14, 2012.
- Stokes, Kyle (October 28, 2013). "IU Opposes Amending Constitution To Ban Same-Sex Marriage". Indiana Public Media. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
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- Smith, Brandon (January 9, 2014). "Proposed Marriage Amendment Clarified, Renamed". Indiana Public Media. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- Cook, Tony (January 21, 2014). "Bosma moves gay marriage ban to new committee". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Cook, Tony (January 22, 2014). "Elections committee advances HJR-3 on to full House". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- Rund, Jacob (January 27, 2014). "Indiana House votes to amend gay-marriage amendment". Indianapolis Business Journal. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
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- Cook, Tony; Berggoetz, Barb (February 10, 2014). "Committee votes 8-4 to send HJR-3 to full Senate". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- Schneider, Chelsea (February 17, 2014). "Indiana Senate approves marriage amendment". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Cook, Tony; Berggoetz, Bard (February 14, 2014). "Same-sex marriage ban won't be on November ballot". Indy Star. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Love v. Pence, 14-cv-00015, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana (New Albany)
- Gullo, Karen (March 7, 2014). "Indiana Gay-Marriage Ban Challenged by Couples in Federal Court". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- "Lambda Legal Files Federal Suit". Lambda Legal (Press release). March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- "Indy passes benefits for domestic partners". IDS. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- "Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard OKs domestic partner benefits". Indy Star. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Poll finds Indiana residents split on gay marriage
- WISH-TV/Ball State Hoosier Survey shows growing opposition to marriage amendment