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Prenuptial Agreement, Legal Forms - Indiana Couples Sue for Marriage Licenses and Civil Union Recognition



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Prenuptial Agreement<br>Related Legal Information  

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Indiana Couples Sue for Marriage Licenses and Civil Union Recognition.

Thursday morning, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU) filed suit in Marion County Superior Court on behalf of three same-sex couples. Although, the lawsuit makes Indiana the sixth state to face a constitutional challenge to its Marriage laws since 1990, and the third state in the last eighteen months, the Indiana suit is unique in several respects. With each of the recent Marriage cases having been filed on either the West Coast or in New England, this case adds a new regional dimension to the debate, marking the first foray into the Midwest since two early cases in Minnesota and Kentucky were rejected in the 1970's.
In addition, unlike the earlier states, Indiana law explicitly states that Marriage is a male-female union, and that "a Marriage between persons of the same gender is void in Indiana," even if valid in other states. Finally, all three of the Indiana couples have obtained civil unions in Vermont. On this basis, the couples argue that even if they are not granted Marriage licenses under Indiana law, they should be treated as "spouses" because of their status under Vermont law. In this sense, the Indiana lawsuit is a hybrid of the same-sex "Marriage" lawsuits currently underway in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and the civil union recognition cases decided earlier this year in Georgia and Connecticut.
The case names Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon as defendant, along with two court clerks responsible for issuing Marriage licenses. Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter's office is expected to defend the case. The suit is based on several sections of the Indiana constitution, including guarantees of "the pursuit of happiness," privacy, and "equal privilege." The plaintiffs' complaint also relies on the Full Faith and Credit clause of the United States Constitution and an Indiana statute for its claim that Vermont civil unions should be recognized in Indiana.
Sources: Complaint, Morrison v. O'Bannon, Marion County Superior Court, Docket No. 49D11-0208-PL-001415 (filed August 22, 2021); Press Release, "ICLU Files Challenge to Ban on Gay Marriage," Indiana Civil Liberties Union, August 22, 2002, available at
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