Friday, March 14, 2014

Lawsuits Challenging Indiana's Defense Of Marriage Act Continue To Mount

After today, there are now four lawsuits that have been filed in the federal district court in Indianapolis challenging the constitutionality of Indiana's Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), including lawsuits filed by the ACLU of Indiana, Lambda Legal, a Kentucky attorney who has had success challenging Kentucky's DOMA in the federal courts there and the latest lawsuit filed by Indianapolis attorneys Karen Celestino-Horseman and Bill Groth on behalf of public safety officers in Indianapolis and Evansville who entered into same-sex marriages.

All of the lawsuits rely on the Equal Protection Clause as applied to the states under the 14th Amendment as the basis for challenging the state's DOMA. The case involving the public safety officers is particularly compelling because there you have similarly-situated legally married police officers and firefighters entitled to certain pension benefits from the Public Employees Retirement Fund whose same-sex spouses are deemed ineligible to receive the same benefits that surviving spouses of public employees in the case of traditional marriages are entitled to receive.

For example, the surviving spouse of a police officer who dies in the line of duty is entitled to receive a monthly pension benefit for the remainder of his or her life, along with a tax-free, lump sum payment of $150,000. PERF will not allow public safety officers who have entered into a same-sex marriage in a state where such marriages are legally recognized to designate their spouse as a beneficiary of their pension benefit.

The lawsuit cites a host of other state laws that similarly discriminate against same-sex married couples, including the probate laws governing inheritance in the event a spouse dies intestate, court-ordered support of a spouse who becomes incapacitated by the other spouse, divorce laws, and income tax laws allowing joint tax-filing by married couples.

The handwriting is on the wall. The shelf life of Indiana's DOMA is quickly reaching its expiration date and no action by the General Assembly or the state's courts is going to stop it from happening.

Hat tip to Indiana Law Blog.


Anonymous said...

Greg Garrison at wibc must be spitting up blood. I never heard actual hatred before, not really, until I heard him wretching and boiling over with openly acknowledged disgust for gays in the military. You know the type. He says he has nothing against gays. Then he does everything in his power to put them in their place. Kind of the poster child for Christian haters. All that Love the sinner hate the sin nonsense they all spout off before they trash the gays. Even Republicans find Garrison extreme in his tea party right wing views. I bet gay marriage in Indiana will fester in his gut.

Charles M. Navarra said...

As usual, Mr. Welsh is spot on when it comes to the pulse of the local culture and the inevitable end of Indiana's DOMA. If only Mr. Bosma and the other State Legislature "R's" could get a clue and actually get to the real business of the State. As for Mr. Garrison, I long ago discontinued tuning to WIBC whenever he is on the air... the arrogant, unearned sense of moral superiority and the mocking of those who disagree became too distasteful for me to stomach.

Anonymous said...

These gays have made a grave mistake. 25 years ago, they pleaded with us to stop beating them up and let them live in peace. All they wanted was to be left alone, so we took them at their word. Just like with all liberals, we made a big mistake.

Tolerance wasn't enough for them. They used our decency against us. They don't want tolerance; they're after legitimization and normalization. They want to force all of us to accept their lifestyle as just another choice among many.

They're not going to get it. Their lifestyle isn't normal. It isn't healthy, and I don't want that lifestyle presented equally alongside a decent normal family from Plainfield.

The truce is off.

Flogger said...

The Bible Thumpers are going to be hearing all about hell fire and damnation this Sunday at church. Any bad weather in Indiana will attributed to God's wrath.

The Political Wing of the Rabid Bible Thumpers will start requesting solicitations (money) to fight back.

I just sent in another donation to the ACLU - money well spent.

Pete Boggs said...

Anon 12:24 & 12:57 & Flogger:

Mischaracterizations of people you disagree with, WIBC's Garrison or folks you call Bible thumpers, doesn't change what the good book says. Go to your local library, read & report back...

If you don't like what the good book says, so be it. But most followers, don't take delight in condemning fellow sinners; irrespective of the sin.

Like most of us with gay friends & family members; Garrison doesn't espouse hatred. That mischaracterization's an outright lie; unfortunately inspired... by other than love.

This stuff is only "hard" for those insecure & unsure of who they are. The rest of us aren't obligated to promote, apologize or pay for that insecurity.

ACL-who? Yeah, they did such a "fine job" upholding the Constitution in response to the so called ACA- not.

Nick said...

Anon, people like you crack me up.

Before too long, you, Ginny Cain, Eric Miller, the NOM crazies and the rest of your ilk will resemble those Japanese soldiers who hid in the jungles for decades after WW2 still thinking there was a war to fight.

Oh, and you needn't worry about the gays coming to Plainfield. I can't think of a single gay who'd be caught dead living that wasteland. It's too far of a drive to Crate and Barrel, and Nordstroms.

Anonymous said...

In Oregon the attorney general has refused to fight these lawsuits, which is quite visionary when compared to Zoeller, who in my opinion is the worst attorney general Indiana has ever had. In Oregon even the Republican party, led by young Republicans, has decided to embrace the future and accept the overturn of these terrible anti-gay marriage laws. It saddens me that, given the opportunity, Indiana barrels ahead and tries to become more like Mississippi and Alabama. When younger people claim Indiana is backward, these are the types of things that they are talking about. People who dig in on the wrong side of history should look back, where such conduct meant supporting slavery and segregation laws. Even the military accepts gays. When will the Christians? Its the purest hypocrisy to identify yourself as a Christian and then twist that belief to support the subjugation of gays to second class status because you claim your bible requires it. Nonsense.

Pete Boggs said...

Law relies on language, based on tradition; many of which are tied to religion- including the Bible.

There's no such thing as "anti-gay marriage law," because it's an oxymoronic contrivance of "gay marriage;" political coercion of dry martini logic. Toss a dry martini in someone's lap, you'll get the idea...

There are rights to associate & contract; not coerce "acceptance" from others (oxymoronic!), by unilaterally redefined language, hyperextended as "law," that which is enforced at the end of a gun barrel.

Borrowing on the definition / tradition of marriage to unimaginatively qualify or describe that which is claimed to be unique, significant, undermines those claims; exposing them as political & divisive tactics; to impugn that which is known to be marriage.

Anon 8:10 illustrates the politics of division; struggling with his / her bigotry / ignorance of southerners & Christians. An awareness, genuine & commensurate with reality, would compel 8:10 to observe & discuss the greatest or sworn / doctrinal threat to gays, isn't Christians or southerners- but Muslims.

No, Americans don't welcome tyranny or fascism; however named / claimed / oriented.

Anonymous said...

The liberal attorneys are trying to make the constitution what they want. The constitution does not deal with marriage. That is not why the states came together to form a single country.

My copy of the Constitution states clearly in the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." That means marriage is a state issue. That the feds may not interfere with.