Indiana will not recognize same sex marriages legally performed before a federal appeals court halted a ruling striking down the state’s gay marriage ban, as Governor Mike Pence says the state must follow the rule of law.
Federal judge Richard Young ruled Indiana’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional in an order handed down late last month. Two days later, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of that ruling, halting its effects. But in between, hundreds of same sex marriages were licensed throughout the state. In an advisory memo sent out this week, Governor Mike Pence’s general counsel, Mark Ahern, says executive branch agencies should comply with the 7th Circuit’s stay and act as though Judge Young’s order was never issued.
Hoosiers Unite for Marriage spokesman Kyle Megrath says that decision is deeply disappointing.
“I was there at the county clerk’s office and all I saw were loving and committed couples having the opportunity to protect their families,” Megrath said. “And now, knowing that those marriages aren’t going to be respected is certainly a big blow.”
Pence says he understands that there’s confusion created by different federal court decisions.
“But as governor of the state of Indiana, I have to see to it that the state of Indiana operates in a manner consistent with Indiana law and our general counsel has advised this is the proper course of action,” Pence said.
In Ahern’s memo, he notes that the state will recognize the marriage of one same sex couple – Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler – as ordered by the federal appeals court. Quasney and Sandler, who were married in Massachusetts last year, sought emergency recognition because Quasney is terminally ill with ovarian cancer.