“One of the reasons I am standing here is because someone stood up a long time ago,” he said. “And, I am hoping our kids, nieces and nephews will not have to have this debate about a right that is so fundamental.”
Kentucky and Indiana
The law firm is representing four couples in a similar case in Kentucky. In that case, a federal judge ruled last month that Kentucky must recognize legal marriages from other states. Gov. Steve Beshear says he will appeal the ruling, after Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway declined to do so.
On Friday, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said his office will defend Indiana’s statutory marriage definition challenged in the lawsuit.
“As state government’s lawyer, I must defend the state’s authority to define marriage at the state level within Indiana’s borders,” he said in a release. “People of goodwill have sincere differences of opinion on the marriage definition, but I hope Hoosiers can remain civil to each other as this legal question is litigated in the federal court.”
At a February speech to the Indianapolis chapter of The Federalist Society, Zoeller was sharply critical of attorneys general in other states who have refused to defend their state’s same-sex marriage bans. Zoeller called it a “dereliction of duty.”
In a statement emailed Friday evening, Kara Brooks, Pence’s press secretary said, “Gov. Pence supports Indiana’s marriage law, and he will fully cooperate with the attorney general as he defends Indiana’s law in court.”
The lawsuit comes after a divisive debate in the Indiana General Assembly over a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. Supporters of the effort argued Indiana’s current law banning same-sex unions needed to be enshrined in the state constitution to keep what they called “activist judges” from overturning the state law.