Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

June 27, 2013

Question remains: Will Indiana's same-sex ban stand?

It's unclear how court decision will impact the state law.

Eric Turner doesn’t like the term “same-sex marriage ban,” insisting that he’s more interested in creating a working definition of marriage as part of Indiana’s constitution.

But the Cicero Republican state representative, the author of a proposed amendment to define marriage as “one man, one woman” in Indiana’s state constitution, had little to say Wednesday on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the federal version of his amendment, the Defense of Marriage Act.

“I haven’t read the opinion yet, but certainly it doesn’t affect the 36 states where either laws or constitutional amendments are in place,” Turner said. “I am encouraged that states can still make their own decisions on the definition of marriage.”

While some legal scholars feel Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision sets a precedent for challenging state same-sex marriage bans, Deborah Widiss, an associate professor of law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law, said the impact of Wednesday’s decision “is just not clear yet.”

“It’s impossible to know for sure what might happen in future cases,” Widiss said. “It might [erode state laws] but it’s not clear yet how all the different pieces would shake out.”

Widiss said the decision leaves in place Indiana’s current law, which doesn’t recognize same-sex couples as having the same rights as opposite-sex married couples.

If a same-sex couple, who were married in a state which recognized same-sex marriages, moved to Indiana, that marriage wouldn’t be recognized under Indiana law, she said.

After Wednesday’s decision, “What’s not clear is whether they’d be married for the purposes of federal law. But they’re definitely not married for the purposes of Indiana law,” Widiss said.

While Turner said he anticipated the state constitutional amendment, known as House Joint Resolution 6, passing the Indiana General Assembly next year and then passing a referendum vote, he declined to speculate on the margin of the referendum vote.

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