Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.
The memo from the governor's chief counsel tells executive branch agencies to execute their functions as though the June 25 court order had not been issued.
Pence defended the memo Wednesday and the sentiment expressed in it Wednesday afternoon. He said it was his job as governor to carry out the laws of the State of Indiana.
"The State of Indiana must operate in a manner with the laws of Indiana. So we have directed our state agencies earlier this week to conduct themselves in a way that respects current Indiana law, pending this matter's process through the courts," Pence said.
A federal judge in Indianapolis struck down the state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional that day, leading to hundreds of same-sex marriages around the state. But an appeals court stayed that ruling three days later after an appeal from the state attorney general's office.
"I think if you were at the city hall on those days, you saw people were overjoyed they were finally here where Indiana will allow loving couples to get married. That was the sense," said Kyle Megrath, Hoosiers Unite for Marriage. "To have that go away, it feels disrespectful to have the governor say he would stand up for families. We thought protecting families meant protecting all families."
The governor's office told agencies to recognize the out-of-state marriage of Amy Sandler and Nikole Quasney of Munster, in line with the appellate court order. Quasney is dying of ovarian cancer.
Marion County Clerk Beth White statement:
"Governor Pence's decision not to recognize the legal unions of hundreds of same-sex couples is disheartening and disappointing," said Marion County Clerk Beth White. She went on to say in a statement:
"As Clerk of Marion County, I was proud our office was able to issue these licenses and officiate over 450 weddings for couples, many of whom have been in loving committed relationships for decades. Governor Pence owes these couples an explanation on why he continues to deem them as second class citizens. They legally obtained their license, paid the requisite fee and should be entitled to the same rights and privileges the rest of us enjoy.
It is time for our state leaders to put the issue behind us so that we can focus on strengthening the middle-class, investing in quality education and rebuilding Indiana's economy. Hoosier businesses depend on the best and brightest employees to compete in the global economy. Indiana is rolling up the welcome mat with this regressive stance on this issue. Although my opponent has a long history of opposing marriage equality, I call on Mrs. Lawson to reject Governor Pence's ruling today. The Office of the Secretary of State should be welcoming to all employers choosing to invest or reinvest in Indiana. And that includes their prospective employees and their families. Hoosiers deserve common sense leadership that is focused on moving Indiana forward."Hoosiers Unite for Marriage issued this statement:
"Last month, Governor Pence held a summit about strengthening families. He lauded single parents, adoptive parents and marriages between one man and one woman. Notably absent was any mention of loving, committed same-sex couples and their families. The couples who said their vows during the three-day window when same-sex marriage was legal in Indiana are legally married, and they deserve the respect and recognition that comes with that commitment. We are deeply disappointed in the Governor's decision not to recognize these marriages and families, and we will continue to fight for these couples to be treated equally. We look forward to the day when marriage equality is the law of the land so that these families no longer have to worry about politicians deciding the fate of their love."