Same sex couples in Indiana react to governor’s decision

HAMILTON COUNTY (WISH) –  Indiana will not recognize same sex marriages conducted in the state at the end of June. It’s a decision handed down from Governor Mike Pence.

A memo from his general counsel told state agency heads earlier this week, to act as if the order striking down the ban on gay marriage had not been issued. It says Indiana’s ban on same sex marriages is in full force.

“In consultation with our general counsel we believe a proper reading of the Court of Appeals decision stays the impact of the initial federal court’s decision,” Pence told 24-Hour News 8’s Jim Shella Wednesday afternoon, saying he is complying with the law.

The decision has some same-sex couples who got married during those three days in June, wondering what’s next.

Greg Hasty and CJ Vallero say they’ve been together for nine years. They got their marriage licenses in the mail this week.

“We could not be more ecstatic to open that, and have it on paper, and know that everything we’ve built together for last nine years has been cemented,” said Vallero.

“There’s nothing in limbo about the commitment we made to each other. We have vows, we have a license,” said Hasty.

Ken Falk, legal director for the ACLU of Indiana, says they believe marriages, like Hasty’s and Vallero’s, are still valid.

“When these people got married for those two days, Indiana law allowed them to get married, and there’s nothing in Indiana law that allows the executive to go back and say, you know what you shouldn’t recognize any of these marriages,” said Falk.

Falk says they’ve been contacted by same-sex couples who have had problems with clerks not processing paperwork. He says they’ll file additional litigation if need be.

“The marriage on paper, affords us protections we don’t have today anymore. I’m no longer guaranteed hospital visitation rights if something were to happen to my husband,” explained Hasty.

Briefs for the case are scheduled to be concluded in early August. The appeals court could choose to expedite the hearing.

Hasty and Vallero say they’ll continue their fight.

“Spend ten minutes with us, and tell us we’re not a deserving Hoosier family, that is committed and loving, and deserves that certificate of marriage we’ve received. We are just like everyone else,” said Hasty.

The Marion County clerk’s office said they’ll continue to record marriages of couples who obtained a license before the stay was issued.

Falk says he plans to contact the US Attorney and Attorney General about Indiana’s situation.

Other states are going through similar situations.

Colorado’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage was struck down by a judge in Denver.

He ruled that the restriction violates the state and federal constitutions.

Meantime, Utah’s attorney general is going directly to the nation’s highest court to challenge an appellate ruling that gay couples have a constitutional right to marry in that state.

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