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Indiana Appeals Ruling Overturning Same-Sex Marriage Ban

The state attorney general asked the judge to put his ruling on hold to avoid "confusion and inconsistency" pending the appeal.
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Indiana officials asked a federal judge to put on hold his own ruling Wednesday striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

State Attorney General Gregory Zoeller joined two county court clerks late Wednesday afternoon in appealing U.S. District Judge Richard Young's ruling earlier in the day, which found the ban unconstitutional.

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"The Legislature has the legal authority to determine how marriage shall be defined within Indiana's borders; and Indiana's Legislature has chosen in statute to define marriage in the traditional way — between one man and one woman — and to not legally recognize same-sex unions granted in other states," the attorney general's office argued.

Saying Young's ruling named only five counties specifically listed in the three cases that were at issue Wednesday, Zoeller said he and the clerks in Hamilton and Boone counties also sought an emergency stay to head off "confusion and inconsistency" between counties where the said the ruling was enforceable immediately and others where it wasn't.

Young hadn't ruled on the request for a stay Wednesday night.

Young's ruling early today came on the same day that a federal appeals court struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, the Marion County Clerk's Office had processed almost 90 marriage license applications and conducted 63 wedding ceremonies by 6 p.m. ET, NBC station WTHR of Indianapolis reported.

In Vanderburgh County, Michael Schaefer and his partner were the first in line for a license after Young issued his ruling, NBC station WFIE of Evansville reported.

"To the people that think that it's a religious matter, both of us our Christians," Schaefer said. "Both of us believe in God, and it's more than just religion. It's about treating people fairly, and that's what we're happy about."

Stephen Stolen and Rob McPherson, a couple of 27 years who are among the plaintiffs in the case, also rejoiced at the ruling.

"It's an overwhelming day. It's an awesome, awesome day," Stolen told WTHR.

Said McPherson: "Stephen and I have an almost 16-year-old daughter who is one of the plaintiffs, as well, and she is thrilled that her family is now recognized legally in the state of Indiana."

Image: Hundreds of same sex couples line up to apply for marriage licenses at the Marion County Clerks office in Indianapolis
Hundreds of same-sex couples line up to apply for marriage licenses at the Marion County clerk of court's office Wednesday in Indianapolis after a federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage.Michael Conroy / AP