Two federal lawsuits were filed Friday
challenging Indiana's ban on gay marriage.
The lawsuits join two others filed in
the last week.
lawsuit challenging Indiana's gay marriage ban filed.)
In one of the lawsuits filed Friday,
four married lesbian couples are asking a judge to force Indiana to
recognize their marriages.
Indiana Equality, the state's largest
LGBT rights advocate, said that the lawsuit, which includes three
police officers and a retired firefighter, “focuses, among other
denied protections, on the inability of first responders' same-sex
spouses to be named as beneficiaries for police and fire pension or
Plaintiffs claim that Indiana's refusal
to recognize their marriages violates the Full Faith and Credit
clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Fifteen plaintiffs, including two
children of gay couples, are involved in the second lawsuit filed by
the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana.
“The government is a power teacher of
discrimination,” Sean Lemieux, an attorney working on the case,
Indianapolis Star. “There is no justification for Indiana
to treat these families as second-class citizens. The families in
this case want the responsibility, security and dignity that only
marriage provides, and their children deserve the same protections
that other Indiana families enjoy.”
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller
reiterated that his office would defend the state's marriage laws.
“When plaintiffs who disagree with an
Indiana statute file a challenge in court, I have a duty as Indiana's
Attorney General to defend our state and the statute the Legislature
passed to the best of my skill and ability – and will do so here,
both now and on any appeal,” Zoeller said in a statement. “Though
such cases elicit strong opinions on both sides, Hoosiers should
maintain civility and respect toward each other while the court does
The cases come just weeks after Indiana
lawmakers altered the language of a proposed constitutional amendment
seeking to define marriage as a heterosexual union, keeping the
amendment from reaching voters this November.
Micah Clark, executive director of the
American Family Association, a group which opposes marriage equality,
blamed lawmakers for the rash of challenges.
“Had the Legislature passed HJ-3 as
originally filed and had this been on the ballot this fall, I don't
think these lawsuits would have been filed,” he said.