Zoeller asks full appeals court to consider marriage law 

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has asked a federal appeals court to skip a three-judge review of the state’s marriage law and go straight to a full court hearing.

The attorney general’s office filed the motion Friday with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is reviewing a district judge’s ruling declaring Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

The appeals court already has stayed that district ruling, which put that decision – and gay marriages – on hold pending its review. The appeals court has also scheduled an expedited briefing process for its three-judge panel.

The attorney general’s office said moving the review straight to the full court of 10 judges – called en banc – “would be an additional way to more quickly resolve the uncertainty and chaos surrounding these cases.”

“This extraordinarily important legal issue deserves the review and consideration of the entire 7th Circuit Court of Appeals under the existing, expedited schedule for this case,” Zoeller said in a statement. “En banc review would serve to provide the Supreme Court with the insights and judgment of 10 well-respected judges, rather than just three, which would benefit the judicial review process no matter the outcome.”

Similar cases are pending in a number of states and last month a federal appeals court in Denver struck down the Utah ban on same sex marriage. That clears the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the issue.

Also, earlier this week, Wisconsin filed a notice of appeal with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving its marriage law.

In all, federal courts have ruled 22 times in favor of a gay marriage ban since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Already, 19 states have same sex marriage. In 11 of those, voters or state legislatures made the call. In eight others, judges ordered marriage open to same sex couples.

In 12 other states, judges have issued rulings in favor of gay marriages but the decisions were stayed as they were appealed, according to the national group Freedom to Marry.

Lesley Weidenbener is executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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