In a pleasing break from the typical Friday decision-announcement pattern, we have marriage equality news from two states on this wonderful Wednesday.
In Indiana, U.S. District Judge Richard Young has issued a broad ruling that strikes down that state’s marriage ban as unconstitutional. What’s more, the judge has declined to issue a stay on the ruling, meaning that same-sex couples in Indiana can begin marrying immediately—indeed, some already have. Young addresses the context of his decision in the conclusion of his decision:
The court has never witnessed a phenomenon throughout the federal court system as is presented with this issue. In less than a year, every federal district court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions—laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage—not a same-sex marriage. 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.
Meanwhile, over in Utah, the 10th Circuit federal appellate court has agreed with a lower court ruling that that state’s ban is also unconstitutional. The 2-to-1 decision recognized that “those who wish to marry a person of the same sex are entitled to exercise the same fundamental right as it is recognized by persons who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex.” An earlier Supreme Court-issued stay on the district court’s original ruling will remain in place for now.