On March 10, 2014, three same-sex couples filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against the State of Indiana and Boone, Porter, and Lake Counties, in Indiana. The plaintiffs, represented by Lambda Legal and a number of private attorneys, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and asked the court for declaratory relief and both temporary and permanent injunctive relief. They claimed that Indiana's laws prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriage, and the manner in which those statutes have been interpreted and enforced, violate the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, because they deny plaintiffs the right to the most important relationship in life and make them second-class citizens due to the range of benefits that require marriage.
On March 31, 2014, plaintiffs amended their complaint to add two plaintiff couples and additional defendants, including the Indiana Department of Health and Hamilton County. One of the added plaintiffs was suffering from ovarian cancer; plaintiffs stated that Indiana's refusal to recognize her marriage impeded her ability to obtain needed medical care close to home. As such, plaintiffs sought an order compelling immediate recognition of that couple's Massachusetts marriage in Indiana.
On April 10, 2014, at a motion hearing, Judge Richard Young granted the requested temporary restraining order, without a written order, for a month. While this order was in effect, the court held a hearing on the pending motions for summary judgment and preliminary injunction, and on May 8th, 2014, the Court granted a preliminary injunction, based on the plaintiffs likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm absent relief. The Court required the State of Indiana to recognize the plaintiffs' out-of-state marriage, including, if need arises, by issuing a death certificate that records their marital status as "married" and lists the surviving spouse. Baskin v. Bogan, 2014 WL 1814064 (S.D. Ind. 2014).
The defendants filed a Motion to Stay Pending Appeal on May 8, 2014. However, on June 25th, the motion was denied as moot when the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. The decision declared that the Indiana same-sex marriage ban violated the 14th Amendment and permanently enjoined the state from enforcing it. Baskin v. Bogan, 2014 WL 2884868 (S. D. Indiana).
As of June 25th, 2014, same-sex marriages were legal in the state of Indiana. The defendants sought a say in the district court, and filed an appeal. The district court did not rule on the stay motion for two days, so on June 27, the State filed an emergency stay motion in the 7th Circuit, which granted that motion that same evening. The 7th Circuit also consolidated this case with the two other pending Indiana same-sex cases, Fujii and Lee (see "related cases", below), and expedited briefing.
On July 10, the state appealed the decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals; the Court of Appeals combined the case for briefing and oral argument with a similar Indiana case, Wolf v. Walker. On September 4, the Seventh Circuit, in a unanimous opinion authored by Judge Richard Posner, and joined by Judges Williams and Hamilton, found in favor of the plaintiffs and affirmed the district court's judgments invalidating and enjoining these two states' prohibitions of same-sex marriage. The opinion primarily addressed the question of equal protection and said that the states of Indiana and Wisconsin have no rational basis behind the prohibition of same-sex marriage. The Court also suggested that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation has all the hallmarks of a 'suspect class'.
The defendants have since filed a notice of appeal.Chris MacColl - 04/15/2014
Megan Dolan - 09/19/2014