INDIANAPOLIS - A federal judge in Indiana ruled Wednesday that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that the state's ban violates the U.S. Constitution's equal-protection clause in a mixed ruling involving lawsuits from several gay couples.
Judge Young wrote in the ruling:
"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 as reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions – laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional...
"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."
The Marion County Clerk's Office said it's prepared to issue marriage licenses immediately.
"We've been preparing for this for a couple of weeks now. Even though the license currently says 'bride and groom,' couples should ignore that," Clerk Beth White said. "They can go online at our website indy.gov and go ahead and start the application, come into my office. We will stay open as long as it takes this evening."
White said she would conduct short civil ceremonies Wednesday on a first-come, first-served basis.
"All couples seeking a marriage license will be treated with dignity and respect," White said. "We expect it to be a pretty good volume. We're very happy and ready. We want people to come in and exercise this right they now have."
"Governor Pence supports the Attorney General’s efforts to appeal the federal court’s ruling and defend Indiana’s right to define the institution of marriage for the residents of our state. Because the Governor believes in the rule of law, the State of Indiana will comply with the federal court’s order as this case moves through the appeals process."
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