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UPDATE: ACLU asks fed attorney to recognize Indiana gay marriages

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Attorneys on Friday asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to step in on behalf of hundreds of same-sex couples who were wed before a federal appeals court stayed an order striking down Indiana's gay marriage ban.

The letter by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana asks Holder to issue a statement that the federal government will recognize the marriages as he did in Utah and Michigan, which would make Indiana's couples eligible for federal benefits for married couples.

The ACLU's move comes the same week that Gov. Mike Pence's office said the state wouldn't recognize the same marriages.

Separately Friday, the 7th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago combined Indiana and Wisconsin's gay marriage cases and set them on an expedited schedule.

In Indiana, hundreds of couples were married from June 25, when a U.S. district court judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban, to June 27, when a federal appeals court stayed the decision.

Gov. Mike Pence's general counsel instructed state agencies on Monday not to recognize the marriages that were performed during that gap. The policy applies only to state agencies that report to Pence's office and would affect state services controlled by those agencies, such as food stamps or the ability to file jointly for state taxes.

Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana, said Friday that he believed the state's position was incorrect.

"These marriages were lawful and valid when they were entered into and we do not believe that they can be retroactively voided," Falk said in the letter, which was mailed to the attorney general's office on Friday.

Pence's office did not return phone calls and emails from The Associated Press seeking comment.

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  • Sorry Daniel
    The law was not changed by anyone...the law was struck down as unconstitutional...that happens frequently, especially when our legislature is involved...that is the separation of powers afforded by the Constitution, which is Government 101, there's an Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branch...this is not the only Judge who came to the same conclusion about these discriminatory laws...all men (and women) created equal...except here, where people like Marine 57 and Daniel want to force you to think exactly like they do...as for the ACLU, they certainly don't discriminate...they have defended anyone whose rights have been infringed, including the Black Panthers and the Ku Klux Klan...thank heavens we have them and the courts to appeal to when our wrongheaded legislature wastes time and taxpayer dollars on social issues while offering no solutions on real issues, like the economy and jobs..."please pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"
  • Law change
    When the law is unconstitutional and the state legislature chooses to ignore that fact, it will take federal judges to fix the law. The legislature keeps wanting to put a discriminatory amendment into the Indiana constitution instead of getting rid of one form of discrimination in our state. I'm glad that the federal judge is able to take corrective action.
  • History and Civics
    Dan, a look at American history will show that as the nation has evolved in granting rights equally to all citizens (after blocking people on the basis of race and gender)that all three branches of government have played a role in making this happen. That's in American Civics 101 as well.
  • change the law
    the way to legitimately change the law is through the legislateive process (Civics 101) ... not through the courts. Let's see what Hoosier voters have to say ... rather than a single judge (accountable to no one...)
    • Great for ACLU
      The ACLU is looking after the rights of citizens of Indiana. All citizens of Indiana should have equal rights to marry. I hope they prevail because these citizens got married in Indiana when it was legal to do so. They deserve their marriages to be recognized. If the state would join the 20 other states that don't discriminate, this wouldn't be an issue.
      • Marine57
        More often than not, the ACLU needs to either get jobs washing dishes in a burger joint or go home and shut up.
      • Freedom
        The Star Spangled Banner says "Land of the Free"...apparently Indiana is not part of the US
      • Love is love
        Pathetic and disgraceful that we have no State leadership when it comes to standing up for basic civil rights and human dignity. I am not prone to political persuasions, but I just don't understand the official Republican position on the marriage issue. Sooner than later, marriage equality will be the law of the land and Indiana will once again be represented as being "backward", rather than standing firm against ignorance and intolerance. In my experience, the people of Indiana are just as fair-minded and accepting as they are anywhere else. I just wish we had State leadership that would represent that reality.

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