Thursday, October 30, 2014


Greg Bovo, left, and his partner David Schmokel fill out a marriage license application as their adopted daughter, Sophia Bovo-Schmokel, 5, looks on inside the County Clerk's office in the St. Joseph County Courthouse on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Robert Franklin) (Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune)

Donnica Barrett hugs her wife Nikki Barrett moments after Vigo County Indiana judge Chris Newton pronounced them “wife and wife, legally married according to the laws of the state of Indiana” Wednesday evening, June 25, 2014. With the Barretts were their witnesses Bethany Barrett and Amber Lashbrook.(AP Photo/Tribune-Star, Jim Avelis) (Jim Avelis)

Wayne Hughes, left, and Jacob Clayton get married by the Hon. Samuel Keirns Magistrate Allen Superior Court, Fort Wayne, Indiana,while their daughter BZ Hughes, 4, witnesses, Wednesday June 25, 2014. Allen County Clerk's Office was following a court order. U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young ruled that Indiana’s discriminatory ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The case involved three different suits involving a number of couples seeking the freedom to marry in Indiana or recognition of a marriage from another state. (AP Photo/The Journal Gazette, Cathie Rowand) (Cathie Rowand)

Kathy Saunders, left, and her partner Sharon Stanley fill out a marriage license application inside the County Clerk's office in the St. Joseph County Courthouse on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/South Bend Tribune, Robert Franklin) (Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune) (Buy this photo)

Michael Foster, left, and Larry Foster, right, hug one of their sons, Kaleb 11, after they were married by Marion County Clerk Beth White married in Indianapolis, Thursday, June 26, 2014. A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately allowed gay couples to wed. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy)

Adam Shoffner, right, shouts his joy after he married Daniel Tolliver, left, as Marion County Clerk Beth White looks on as same sex couple continued to be married for the second day in Indianapolis, Thursday, June 26, 2014. A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately allowed gay couples to wed. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy)

Michael Foster, second left, and Larry Foster, right, hug with their children Joseph, 13, left, Kaleb, 11, center, and Madeline, 9, as the couple were married in Indianapolis, Thursday, June 26, 2014. A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately allowed gay couples to wed. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy)

AP10ThingsToSee - Jake Miller and Craig Bowen, right, kiss after being married by Marion County Clerk Beth White, center, in Indianapolis, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately allowed gay couples to wed. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (Michael Conroy)

Lyn Judkins, left, rests her head on her partner of 13 years, Bonnie Everly reflecting on what today's court decision means to them in Chesterton, Ind., on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately allowed gay couples to wed. (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Jim Karczewski) MANDATORY CREDIT, MAGS OUT, NO SALES (Jim Karczewski)
Indiana gay marriage ruling inspires opposition
Opponents devising new strategies in wake of court order overturning Indiana gay marriage ban

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 1:47 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana conservatives who thought the definition of marriage was largely settled two decades ago regrouped Thursday following a federal court ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

Wednesday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Richard Young sparked a flood of same-sex weddings across the state and forced opponents to seek ways to blunt the impact of the decision, even as confusion continued across the state about how to implement it.

Many counties still weren’t issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of concern over the state-generated application form, which requests the names of the male and female applicants. While Marion County, the home of Indianapolis, instructed applicants to alter the forms to say “spouse” and “spouse,” other counties were hesitant to do so.

Altering the forms “makes me nervous,” said Janet Chadwell, clerk of Decatur County in southeastern Indiana.

It’s a predicament many in Indiana never expected to face.

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers banned gay marriage two decades ago, and many Democrats supported an effort to place that ban in the state constitution during the 2011 session. But national sentiment on gay marriage has shifted, and when the issue was raised again earlier this year, gay marriage supporters launched a successful drive to keep a constitutional ban from going before voters in November.

Top lawmakers declined to discuss their strategies going forward Thursday, but Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana, said supporters of traditional marriage plan to support legislation modeled off the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The 1993 law bans the government from imposing a substantial burden on a person’s free exercise of their religion unless there is a compelling government interest.

The measures have become increasingly popular in states facing legal challenges to their gay marriage bans, and some fear it could allow businesses and institutions to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

“We’re just concerned about people who believe that marriage between a man and a woman, that men and women are equally different and important, they’re being silenced or punished if they don’t want to partake or be a part of same-sex marriage,” Clark said.

Clark also has contacted churches about adopting language in their own governing documents that identifies marriage as being between one man and one woman. Churches that adopt the language, he said, establish a legal protection if they’re sued by a former employee or someone else based on accusations of wrongful termination.

The church language was crafted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based group involved in the gay marriage fight throughout the nation.

Those steps likely will come long after Young rules on the attorney general’s request that he put his ruling on hold while the state appeals. Legal experts expect Young to rule within a week.

It’s unclear whether marriages already conducted would be recognized if Young puts his order on hold. Similar rulings have been made in several states, and the issue is expected to eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Couples looking to marry seemed undeterred by the legal wrangling as they waited in a line stretching onto the sidewalk outside the Marion County clerk’s office before it opened Thursday morning. Officials said 186 same-sex couples were wed there Wednesday after the office stayed open late to accommodate the influx.

“It doesn’t really change the way we live our life or what we’re going to do,” said Chad Woodward, 32, a sales clerk who held a bouquet of flowers while he waited at the Marion County clerk’s office in downtown Indianapolis with his 32-year-old partner, physician Liam Howley.

Alicia Harding, a 35-year-old social worker, said she and her 28-year old partner, Jen Byrne, 28, a human resources specialist, plan to get married — legally or not — on a beach in October, regardless of whether their legal union Thursday fades into limbo.

“It’s not going to change the fact that we’re together,” Harding said.