Federal judge rules Indiana same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional

Indiana’s same-sex marriage has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Today, U.S. District Judge Richard Young wrote in a ruling the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

“Same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana,” he wrote. “These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”

Marriage will begin immediately in the Hoosier state.

In March, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of five Indiana couples and also a motion seeking immediate relief for Amy Sandler and her wife, Niki Quasney, who is fighting an aggressive cancer. In two separate decisions, the court ordered the State of Indiana to recognize their out-of-state marriage, said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, in an email about the rulings.

Lambda Legal is the same LGBT legal organization that filed a lawsuit on behalf of three gay couples and one widow in Georgia seeking to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Indiana now joins the momentum for nationwide marriage equality. Today’s decision joins the unbroken string of court rulings around the country to come down in favor of marriage equality,” Cathcart added.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“Judge Young held today that there is no justification for denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry, the latest in a unanimous wave of favorable rulings over the past few months. The judge noted the harm marriage discrimination inflicts on Indiana families, while benefiting no one.  With more than 70 marriage cases pending and a strong majority of Americans backing the freedom to marry, today’s decision out of the heartland underscores that America is ready for the Supreme Court to bring an end to marriage discrimination once and for all.”