INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Attorneys on Friday asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to step in on
behalf of hundreds of same-sex couples who were wed before a federal appeals
court stayed an order striking down Indiana’s gay marriage ban.
The letter by the
American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana asks Holder to issue a statement
that the federal government will recognize the marriages as he did in Utah
and Michigan, which would make Indiana’s couples eligible for federal
benefits for married couples.
The ACLU’s move
comes the same week that Gov. Mike Pence’s office said the state wouldn’t
recognize the same marriages.
the 7th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago combined Indiana and
Wisconsin’s gay marriage cases and set them on an expedited schedule.
hundreds of couples were married from June 25, when a U.S. district court
judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, to June 27, when a federal
appeals court stayed the decision.
Gov. Mike Pence’s
general counsel instructed state agencies on Monday not to recognize the
marriages that were performed during that gap. The policy applies only to
state agencies that report to Pence’s office and would affect state services
controlled by those agencies, such as food stamps or the ability to file
jointly for state taxes.
Ken Falk, legal
director of the ACLU of Indiana, said Friday that he believed the state’s
position was incorrect.
were lawful and valid when they were entered into and we do not believe that
they can be retroactively voided,” Falk said in the letter, which was mailed
to the attorney general’s office on Friday.