Chief Judge Richard Young ruled in three lawsuits challenging Indiana’s traditional marriage definition law in Evansville on June 25.
As lawyer for the State of Indiana, the Attorney General’s Office is appealing the court’s order and asked Chief Judge Young to stay his ruling pending appeal.
The Attorney General’s Office filed an emergency motion for stay, expecting the district court to make a decision immediately.
But, according to the Attorney General's office, the ruling has not happened yet.
So, the Attorney General took it to a higher court, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. A separate emergency motion for stay was filed today in that court.
Without a stay, any same-sex marriages granted in Indiana might not be legally valid in the future, according to the Attorney General. That's if the United States Supreme Court eventually ruled in favor of states for legal challenges to marriage laws.
The State argues that a delay to complete the pending appeal would cause less harm to those filing for marriage licenses, compared to legal uncertainty that could come later.
If the State’s emergency motion for stay is granted, the traditional marriage definition law would be reinstated. That means same-sex marriages would not be granted.
Now, the Attorney General's office says people are confused why marriage licenses are being granted at some county courthouses but not others.
According to the Attorney General, the district court’s order took effect immediately and gave no time to prepare or update licensing forms.
If a stay is granted, county clerks would no longer issue same-sex marriage licenses or perform same-sex marriages.
If a stay is denied, clerks could continue to do both and Chief Judge Young’s order would continue to remain in effect pending further appeal.
The Attorney General's office says in other legal challenges to marriage laws of other states, federal district courts and federal appeals courts have normally stayed the implementation of their decisions, pending appeal.