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Indiana, Utah lose in court on gay marriage bans

Utah lost on same-sex marriage in the first appellate court ruling on the issue since last year's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.
By Frances Burns   |   June 25, 2014 at 1:30 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- Utah and Indiana lost legal fights on same-sex marriage Wednesday as federal courts ruled bans in both states are unconstitutional.

In Indiana, U.S. District Judge Richard Young did not stay his decision, allowing gay couples to marry immediately. The state is likely to appeal to a higher court for a delay.

Utah's constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage had already been thrown out by a district court. A federal appeals court upheld that decision Wednesday 2-1 in the first ruling on that level since the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

"May a State of the Union constitutionally deny a citizen the benefit or protection of the laws of the State based solely upon the sex of the person that citizen chooses to marry? Having heard and carefully considered the argument of the litigants, we conclude that, consistent with the United States Constitution, the State of Utah may not do so," the appellate court said.

In Indianapolis, Marion County Clerk Beth White said she was prepared to help gay and lesbian couples tie the knot.

"The clerk's office will be open until at least 4:30p.m. this evening to issue licenses. I will also conduct short, civil ceremonies on a first-come, first-serve basis for a voluntary $50 contribution to the Indiana Youth Group," White said in a news release.

Indiana has already appealed Young's order that it must recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple who married outside the state. The couple sought an emergency ruling because one of the partners has a terminal illness.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 19 states, with court rulings that have been stayed in several others.

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