INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal judge on Wednesday struck down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, continuing the trend of other federal judges across the country.
The judge said the ban on gay marriage violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Marion County Clerk Beth White said her office would be open until 8 p.m. Wednesday to issue marriage licenses on a first-come, first-served basis. White’s office is asking for a voluntary $50 donation to the Indiana Youth Group for a short civil ceremony.
Jake Miller and Craig Bowen quickly married at the clerk’s office in Indianapolis.
“In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as marriage — not a same-sex marriage,” Judge Richard Young said in his ruling.
Young pointed out in his ruling that every federal judge who has been presented the same-sex marriage issue in less than a year has reached the same conclusion he did.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has already appealed the decision and filed a motion attempting to block enforcement of the judge’s ruling pending the outcome of his appeal.
Related story | Ind. AG’s office appeals gay marriage ruling
The Catholic Bishops of Indiana released a statement on Wednesday, shortly after the ruling. It said, in part, that the “Church upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction, whom we accept and love as our brothers and sisters.”
The statement went on to say that the Church “upholds the dignity and sanctity of marriage as a natural union established by God between one man and one woman,” and that “it is not within the power of any institution, religious or secular, to redefine marriage.”
Hoosiers Unite for Marriage, a statewide effort dedicated to moving marriage forward for all couples, also released a statement in response to the federal ruling:
“This is an extraordinary day for the plaintiffs in these cases and for all loving, committed Hoosier couples who want to marry in this state. Not only is Indiana’s marriage ban unconstitutional, but couples are able to get married right away. Today, justice has been done, and love wins.
“We know this could be the start of a long legal fight, and we’re ready to stand strong for loving, committed couples to have the right to marry in Indiana. We have already gathered more than 2,000 signatures asking Attorney General Greg Zoeller not to file an appeal in this case, and we will keep up that pressure until it’s clear that Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban is gone for good.”
The Marion County Clerk’s office has processed 219 marriage licenses and performed more than 188 civil ceremonies as of 11 p.m. Wednesday. The office did close at 8 p.m., but those who were waiting in line will still be processed tonight. They estimate 75 couples were still waiting. The Marion County Clerk’s office will reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Read the full decision from federal court below.