INDIANAPOLIS - The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a motion by Indiana's attorney general to stay an earlier ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban, effectively halting the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the state.
The court issued the stay just after 6 p.m. Friday following an emergency motion filed that afternoon by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
In the motion, Zoeller says a stay is needed to "stem the long-term negative impact that may be created by hundreds, if not thousands, of same-sex marriages that ultimately may prove to have no basis in law."
The appeals court's decision puts into question the status of hundreds of same-sex marriages performed since Wednesday, when U.S. District Judge Richard Young overturned Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage.
In Marion County alone, the clerk's office said it had issued 586 marriage licenses between Wednesday and Friday -- the majority of them for same-sex couples.
A statement released Friday afternoon by Hoosiers Unite for Marriage condemned the appeals court's ruling.
"We are extremely disappointed that the court has issued this stay, and we are committed to protecting the freedom to marry in Indiana," the statement read. "More than anything, this is a terrible blow to the legally wedded Indiana couples and their families who were finally — after so long — recognized this week under Indiana law."
Zoeller had announced his intention to appeal and filed a motion to stay shortly after Young's ruling was released, but no response had come from the judge by Friday afternoon, apparently prompting Zoeller to file a second motion to stay with the higher court.
"Until the United States Supreme Court determines that traditional marriage laws such as Indiana’s are unconstitutional, it is premature to require Indiana to change its definition of marriage and abide by this Court’s conception of marriage," reads the notice of appeal.
The appeal also says Judge Young's "final judgment and injunctions threaten irreparable harm to Defendants because it proposes to alter the meaning of marriage in Indiana, but potentially only temporarily, and creates confusion over the meaning of marriage in Indiana."
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