When the federal judge's ruling came down on the late morning of Wednesday, June 25, a shout rang out across the ACLU of Indiana office. "We won the marriage case!" As the news began to spread over news and social media websites, through texts and phone calls, Facebook and tweets, that elation became a statewide groundswell of goodwill toward the couples who had waited years—or even decades—to enjoy the benefits and protections of marriage in Indiana.
That morning, U.S. District Judge Richard Young struck down Indiana's ban on marriage for same-sex couples on the grounds that it violated due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ruling came in three of the same-sex marriage lawsuits the Judge had been considering, including a case on behalf of 13 plaintiffs brought on March 14 by our office, private attorney Sean Lemieux of Lemieux Law Office in Indianapolis and the National ACLU.
Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director, told the media that he was ecstatic that the court had finally recognized what he had always maintained: That there is simply no justification for treating same-sex couples any differently than other loving couples of opposite genders.
Seven of the 13 plaintiffs attended the 2 p.m. press conference in Indianapolis, and one of the couples, Greg Hasty and C.J. Vallero, immediately went to get their marriage license and married that day.
Two days later, on Friday, June 27, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted the State of Indiana's motion for a stay, halting same-sex marriages in Indiana. The stay will be in effect pending a resolution of the State's appeal of Judge Young's decision on June 25.