3 new suits target Indiana's gay marriage ban

INDIANAPOLIS - Three new federal lawsuits are taking aim at Indiana's same-sex marriage ban, boosting to at least five the number of legal challenges to the law filed in a week.

The ACLU of Indiana filed one of the lawsuits Friday on behalf of five gay couples and three other plaintiffs.

That suit says Indiana's gay marriage ban discriminates against the 13 plaintiffs, including two children whose parents are among the plaintiffs. It says Indiana's law denies legal protections and other benefits to the couples, three of whom were married in states that allow same-sex marriage.

Two other suits were filed Friday on behalf of couples who were married in states that allow same-sex marriages.

All of the suits contend that Indiana's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Rob MacPherson and Steven Stolen are two of the plaintiffs suing the state of Indiana. These Hoosiers are taxpayers who say they want the same legal rights as all married couples -- not just for just themselves, but for their children -- including everything from inheritance rights to medical rights and tax rights.

Some plaintiffs had to file three federal tax returns this year because their marriages from other states aren't recognized in Indiana.

"I've lived here my entire life. I love Indiana. I'm proud when people say, 'Where are you from?' I say 'Indianapolis' with a smile, happy. And our friends often ask, 'Can't you go to Illinois?' 'Why don't you go to New York?' 'How about you fly out to California?' And for us it just never made sense. We live here," plaintiff Greg Hasty said.

"I just think it's time and enough is enough. Whether you've been together for eight years or two years or in our case, 25 years, all of them in Indiana, it is time for Indiana to say, 'This isn't fair,'" Stolen said.

While many Hoosiers maintain marriage should remain defined as between a man and a woman, these couples hope sharing their personal stories will help change Indiana law.

"We have a 5-year-old daughter and we want our marriage recognized and we want her to know that her family structure is as valid as any other family structure," plaintiff Melody Layne said.

"I feel like there's this tidal wave that's making its way across the country. And there are a dozen such states where our marriage from New York is legal and it's about time that it is recognized here," plaintiff Tara Betterman said.

Gov. Pence’s office released a statement that said, "Governor Pence supports Indiana’s marriage law, and he will fully cooperate with the Attorney General as he defends Indiana’s law in court."

There was no word on how long the litigation might take.

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