By Allie Nash
Same-sex marriages that were officiated during the three day period when a judge said they were legal in Indiana will no longer be recognized as legal unions by the executive branch.
Gov. Mike Pence’s general counsel sent a memo
to state agencies Monday that requires all government departments to act as if the same-sex marriage ban had never been overturned.
Attorney Mark Ahearn told agencies that the memo was designed to “ensure all Indiana executive branch agencies operate with a common understanding of the law.”
Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody
released a statement opposing the Pence administration’s decision.
“How predictable that Gov. Pence refuses to recognize the hundreds of marriages that occurred after the court struck down our discriminatory same-sex marriage ban,” Zody said.
“For most newlyweds, they have time to enjoy their union and the creation of a new family. Instead, the attorney general stalled by providing foggy guidance in order for uncertainty to continue, giving the Pence administration plenty of time to find legal loopholes to perpetuate the notion that our state’s welcome mat should only be out for some – those who fall under his narrow notion of a Hoosier family,” he said.
Zody also said the state will suffer because of the decision.
“Gov. Pence is embarrassing our state by ignoring these families, creating an unwelcoming environment for those who want to call Indiana home,” Zody said. “No Hoosier should be treated as a second-class citizen. What’s more, the governor can’t even face Hoosiers himself to tell them he’s shutting the door on equality. He has to do it through a staffer.”
But later Wednesday after a transportation event, Pence made some comments on the issue.
“Our lodestar is in rule of law,” Pence said. “Since the district (court’s) ruling came down, we supported the appeal by the attorney general. But we made it clear to agencies we would comply with the district court’s order and we issued guidance to our agencies when the first order came down.”
Then after the appeals court issued the stay – which blocked the district court’s ruling – the Pence administration advanced the new directive.
“We are deeply disappointed in the governor’s decision not to recognize these marriages and families, and we will continue to fight for these couples to be treated equally,” Hoosiers Unite for Marriage Coordinator Kyle Megrath said. “We look forward to the day when marriage equality is the law of the land so that these families no longer have to worry about politicians deciding the fate of their love.”
Allie Nash is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.