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Indiana Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Felony Punishable by Prison

On the heels of DOMA being repealed,  and in an effort to ban same sex marriages, Indiana lawmakers have revamped a 1997 law that makes furnishing false information on a marriage license a class D felony. On July 1, 2014, a same-sex couple applying for a marriage license in the state of Indiana will be guilty of a Level 6 felony, punishable by 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.  The law will also make it a Class B Misdemeanor for any official, including clergyman,  judge, mayor or city clerk to perform a same-sex marriage.  It would be punishable up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Any clerk who issues a license to a same-sex couple would also be guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor.

Simply filling out the Indiana marriage license forms would automatically violate the law.  The forms have a space for “male applicant” and “female applicant”, any same-sex couple filling out the form would automatically violate the law.

While many other states are reevaluating their laws concerning marriage equality in the light of the Supreme Court decision that struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, Indiana lawmakers are considering doubling down on their anti-equality posture. Although same-sex marriages are currently banned by state law, the Republican controlled General Assembly is considering submitting an amendment to the state constitution for a vote of the people next year. The decision will be made in the January-March 2014 legislative session. It is unclear whether such an amendment would survive a popular vote, as recent polling finds a majority of Indiana residents are now against a constitutional amendment forbidding marriage equality.

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  • Douglas Finney-Carter

    That is NOT what is happening… As an IRATE gay man, I called the Governor of Indiana. His office explained that they are only changing the Criminal Code identifiers from Class A, B, C, D, etc. to Class 1, 2, 3, etc. Nothing has been added or taken away from the law. True that the Indiana Republicans have refused to allow or acknowledge same-sex marriages, but it is only if you provide false information on the Court document (i.e.: the ask for husband’s name and wife’s name specifically by male and female identifiers), that you could be charged with the crime. Google Indiana Code 31-11-11-1b if you want to see for yourself.