Winning Streak for Marriage Equality: Indiana, Utah

First-in-Utah same-sex married couple Michael Adam Ferguson and J. Seth Anderson

First-in-Utah same-sex married couple Michael Adam Ferguson and J. Seth Anderson

Continuing the winning streak for marriage equality since Windsor was decided one year ago, a federal district judge ruled that Indiana’s ban on same-sex nuptials violates the constitution:

A federal court in Indiana struck down on Wednesday the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, affording another win in the unbroken string of victories to supporters of marriage equality in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision against the Defense of Marriage Act.

In a 36-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard Young, a Clinton appointee, ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

While the state will likely appeal and request a concomitant stay, there is not one currently in place, so if you’re in Indiana — go get married if you like.

And, for the first time since DOMA was overturned, a federal circuit appeals court has ruled on a state’s appeal of the unconstitutionality of its marriage ban. And, ironically for a state with its own contentious history in the marriage arena, it is Utah’s ban that has been struck down.

Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Utah in December. It is the first ruling by a federal appellate court since last year’s victory in the Supreme Court and, unless reversed, will pave the way for the freedom to marry throughout the 10th Circuit, including in Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Kansas.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:
“Today, from the heart of the Mountain West, in a case arising out of Utah, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has brought us one giant step closer to the day when all Americans will have the freedom to marry. This first federal appellate ruling affirms what more than 20 other courts all across the country have found: There is no good reason to perpetuate unfair marriage discrimination any longer. America is ready for the freedom to marry, and it is time for the Supreme Court to bring our country to national resolution and it should do so now.”

Weddings won’t resume in Utah yet, though, as the 10th has followed SCOTUS’s lead with a stay of their ruling:

The 10th Circuit put its ruling on hold Wednesday, meaning gay and lesbian couples still cannot wed in the Beehive State. Utah officials can appeal either to the entire 10th Circuit, or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws,” the court said. “A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”


“This is a proud day for everybody in the state of Utah, and everybody across the country, who supports marriage equality,” said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah, which submitted an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs. “Though there is still much to do, the journey to ensuring the freedom to marry for all just got a huge boost with today’s decision.”

2 thoughts on “Winning Streak for Marriage Equality: Indiana, Utah

  1. Teddy Post author

    From FREEDOM TO MARRY, these notes:

    Currently, 44% of Americans live in states where gay couples share in the freedom to marry: 19 states and the District of Columbia. Recent polling by the Washington Post/ABC News shows 59% of Americans support marriage, including a majority of young evangelicals and Republicans under 45 in other polls.