A federal judge’s ruling striking down Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban brought a flurry of activity – and even some confusion – at county clerk offices Wednesday, as gay and lesbian couples applied to be legally married.
Judge Richard Young released the decision Wednesday without issuing a stay, meaning all same-sex couples in Indiana could immediately apply for marriage licenses.
The first license in Allen County went to Kenny Edholm and Josh Reid of Huntertown, who have been together for ten years. Edholm’s brother conducted the ceremony within an hour of the couple’s arrival at the courthouse.
"It's really exciting,” Edholm said. “I feel like I'm going to wake up and it's going to be a dream."
Many counties, including Allen, had to delay issuing marriage licenses while they worked to navigate changes to forms that had no same-sex designations.
Not all Indiana counties are complying with the decision, however. Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey says she believes the ruling applies only to the four counties listed as defendants.
"In reading orders, you have to take them plainly," Coffey says. "And this plainly says 'these defendants' and I am not a named defendant in the case."
Other officials were taken by surprise. In Madison County, the clerk’s office didn’t know about the ruling until a couple showed up requesting a license.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office released a statement Wednesday saying it will apply for a stay while preparing for an appeal of the ruling.
Indiana University associate professor of law, Deborah Widiss, says it’s unclear if those marriages will still be legal if the ruling is appealed.
“I think it’s a bit of an open question whether the state will recognize the marriages in the interim if a stay is granted,” Widiss said. “It may depend upon the terms of the stay.”
Still, Widiss says the federal government would likely recognize those marriages, even if the state does not.
Virginia Alvino, Christopher Ayres, and Stan Jastrzebski contributed to this report.