The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

State News

June 25, 2014

Same sex couples can get license in Madison County

ANDERSON -- Confusion reigned in the Madison County clerk's office Wednesday after Judge Richard Young struck down Indiana's ban on gay marriage.

Clerk Darlene Likens said her office received no advance warning of the ruling and was unaware of it until a lesbian couple came in asking for a marriage license.

"We had to look on the internet to find out what was going on," Likens said. "We received nothing about this from the court."

After local officials saw that the ban had been struck, Likens said, she contacted Madison County Attorney Jim Wilson to determine how to proceed.

Likens said officials at first were inclined to wait until Thursday before issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But Wilson advised the clerk's office to issue licenses to the two same-sex couples who applied Wednesday.

Likens said while only two couples came in, her office received multiple calls from couples wondering whether they could get a license. The clerk expects most of those couples to come to the clerk's office Thursday to apply.

The clerk's office no longer performs marriages, a service that was discontinued months ago. That means Madison County couples can get their marriage license but have to find someone else to perform a marriage ceremony.

Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said he wasn't surprised by Monday's federal district court ruling, given similar rulings in other states.

"Today's ruling seemed to be in accordance with recent trends," Lanane said. "From what I've seen previously, Indiana could not come up with a good reason for why same-sex couples should be treated differently than other couples."

Lanane said that the debate during the 2014 legislative session on adding a ban on gay marriage to Indiana's constitution should have waited until the matter was decided by the courts. While the constitutional ban ultimately failed to garner enough support in the Statehouse, Lanane said he hopes this new ruling will end the debate.

"This debate is going to be decided by the courts," Lanane said. "At this moment, amending the constitution seems to be a moot point."

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.

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