INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana won’t recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages that were performed
before a federal court halted a lower-court’s decision to lift the state’s
gay marriage ban, the governor’s office said Wednesday.
Gov. Mike Pence’s
decision, first announced in a memo from chief counsel Mark Ahearn, applies
only to state agencies that report to his governor’s office and would affect
state services controlled by those agencies, such as food stamps or the
ability to file jointly for state taxes.
Hundreds of couples
were married from June 25, when a U.S. district court judge struck down the
state’s gay marriage ban, to June 27, when a federal appeals court stayed
Republican, told reporters at a Statehouse event Wednesday that the state
was only abiding by the decision of the federal appeals court that stayed
the earlier ruling that struck down Indiana’s gay marriage ban.
attorney general’s office, which is handling the court challenges, had no
Utah opted to challenge a different federal appeals court ruling on its gay
marriage ban, taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Utah Attorney General
Sean Reyes’ office said in a statement the appeal will be filed in the
coming weeks to get “clarity and resolution” from the highest court.
Liberties Union of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said Wednesday he
believes Indiana is wrong and the marriages are legal.
“During the time
they were married they were lawfully married and the fact that the law, in
effect, changed subsequent to their marriage does not void their marriages,”
Falk said in an email to The Associated Press.
The sole exception
to the appeals court stay in Indiana was an order for the state to recognize
the out-of-state marriage of Amy Sandler and Nikole Quasney of Munster;
Quasney is dying of ovarian cancer. The memo said the state would follow
Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, called the governor’s directive “excessive”
and that it only confused the issue.
“I believe the
governor has jumped to conclusions that don’t clearly come from the order of
the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals,” he said in a statement.
County Clerk Beth White, whose office performed more than 450 same-sex
weddings, called the governor’s decision disheartening and disappointing.”
“Gov. Pence owes
these couples an explanation on why he continues to deem them as second
class citizens,” she said in a statement.