Bil Browning

Indiana: Three More Marriage Equality Cases Filed Today

Filed By Bil Browning | March 14, 2014 5:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: federal lawsuit, gay marriage, HJR-3, Indiana, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

Flag-of-Indiana.jpgAs of this afternoon, five federal lawsuits have been filed in Indiana to challenge the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

Last week, in a move heavily criticized by LGBT activists and longtime community leaders, an out-of-state law firm filed the first challenge before the end of an acrimonious General Assembly session. Many Hoosier activists complained that the firm was carpetbagging and, with a viciously anti-LGBT Republican super majority in control of both chambers of the state legislature, played a dangerous game with both the average LGBT Hoosier's safety and an already planned group strategy coordinating other suits that would be filed after the Assembly adjourned this week.

This week, following yesterday's end of the legislative session, four more cases were filed in attempt to get the state's ban thrown out. The ACLU and Lambda Legal brought their own cases with carefully vetted plaintiffs, while the team behind Freedom Indiana and Indiana Equality also brought a meticulously honed case before the court. The fifth case, like the first one, has been brought by a private law firm [pdf].

While the ACLU, Lambda Legal, Indiana Equality, and today's private firm cases were coordinated and all attack different areas of the law, the Kentucky firm's case is not part of the larger strategy by local and national LGBT organizations and activists. Community leaders claim the firm talked to local leaders, found out there were already marriage cases planned, and rushed to be the first to file in a quest for attention and glory.

In a press release sent to the media after the filing, Richard A. Mann, the private attorney who has filed the fifth case, pointed out that everyone else was working together in the best interests of the LGBT community.

By request of various HJR3 opposition groups, our firm waited until today to file the federal suit to ensure the Indiana General Assembly would be foreclosed from inserting the second sentence of the proposed constitutional amendment back into the bill, thus putting it on the ballot this fall. With the General Assembly having concluding [sic] business yesterday without threat of HJR3, we are pleased to join with the many supporters of equality to challenge the discriminatory laws against same-sex couples here in Indiana.

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