INDIANAPOLIS - A federal appeals court on Friday put on hold a judge's order striking down Indiana's gay marriage ban, bringing same-sex marriages to a halt and leaving those who've already tied the knot in legal limbo.
Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana said they feel confident those marriages will be recognized at the federal level while the State’s appeals process is underway.
Earlier in the week, a federal judge ruled that same-sex couples could get married in Indiana. Thousands of couples flooded to those with vested power to help them tie the knot.
"We got our marriage license. We met the most beautiful woman in line behind us who was an ordained minister who married us right then and there," lawsuit plaintiffs Greg Hasty and C.J. Vallero said.
In Marion County alone, the clerk’s office issued more than 500 marriage licenses since Wednesday -- most of which were for same-sex couples.
The Indiana Attorney General's office filed an appeal shortly after the judge’s decision, but the marriages kept coming until an appeals court granted the state's request for a stay on those marriages while the appeals process is resolved.
The Marion County clerk's office in Indianapolis, which handed out 120 marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday, had planned to open on Saturday so gay couples could get married, but announced after the ruling that it would not.
"We're obviously disappointed, disappointed for all the persons who were planning to get married in the next few days who now cannot," ACLU legal director Ken Falk said.
"While we're not shocked, we're, I think, both totally disheartened about what it means for Hoosier families who are waiting," Hasty and Vallero said.
The question that remains is: Will the marriages already performed this week hold up? Falk said he thinks so.
"Our position is that these marriages need to be recognized. It is my understanding that the U.S. Attorney General in other cases involving stays has indicated that the United States will recognize the marriages and we would expect Indiana to as well," Falk said.
The Attorney General’s office issued the following statement Friday evening:
"During the stay of the district court's ruling, the parties will have the opportunity to submit their arguments to the 7th Circuit in the appeal of the underlying lawsuits challenging Indiana's marriage law, but Chief Judge Young's order of Wednesday will not be in effect."
Lambda Legal, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit that led to this week’s historic ruling, said they will continue to fight and will do everything in their power to win marriage for all Hoosiers.
A stay is not unusual in same-sex marriage cases. They have been issued in several states where bans have been overturned. How long it has taken to issue the stay has been the difference in Indiana.
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