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Indiana Law Means Common Marriage Equality Tactic Is A Felony

Flag_of_Indiana.svgIn several states, it has been common to stage an event where a same-sex couple show up to obtain a marriage license only to be denied because same-sex marriage is illegal in the state. In most places, this tactic is harmless. In Indiana, it is a Class-D felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

The WE DO Campaign has been pulling this stunt in several states, most notably Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South and North Carolina and Virginia. What happens is the couple applies for a marriage license at the person who handles the application and it gets rejected.

A 1997 Indiana law, though, made it a felony to submit false or misleading information on a marriage license application or to lie about the physical condition of the people involved. Even if the application is denied, those who submitted it would be penalized. The law would also penalize any official who solemnized the marriage between two people of the same sex. That is a Class B misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 180 days in chail and a fine of bup to a thousand dollars.

A recent overhaul of the criminal code which takes place in a year would reduce the severity of the felony charges and reduce the prison time and fine.

Indiana is currently battling over a potential state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The Republican-controlled General Assembly is pushing it through and must vote on it in the January-March 2014 legislative session. The amendment would prohibit any form of marriage equality. It would then go to the voters who, according to recent polling, oppose the amendment.



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2 Responses to Indiana Law Means Common Marriage Equality Tactic Is A Felony

  1. Jade Catherine

    July 10, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    That seems particularly scary for transgendered people, since no matter what gender you put on a form, somebody who wants to get you in trouble could ALWAYS claim it’s false and you should have written the other one.

  2. Bob Junt

    July 8, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Across the world people are yelling “revolution! revolution!”. Here in Indiana we’re yelling “evolution! evolution!”.