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Will Marriage Equality Become Law of the Land?

PHOTO: Marriage equality supporters in Indiana are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision they believe will strike down bans on same-sex marriage. Photo credit: tapps/Flickr.
PHOTO: Marriage equality supporters in Indiana are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision they believe will strike down bans on same-sex marriage. Photo credit: tapps/Flickr.
June 22, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court will announce a decision that could open the door to same-sex marriage around the nation.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Indiana since last fall, when the U.S Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled the state's ban unconstitutional.

Jane Henegar, executive director of the ACLU of Indiana, explains the court now will rule on cases from several states after a conflict emerged among other federal rulings.

"That split in the circuits – that disagreement amongst the courts of appeals – necessitated the U.S. Supreme Court taking the case and deciding, we hope once and for all, that marriage equality is the law of the land," says Henegar.

According to a recent poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, 65 percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court will overturn state laws banning same-sex marriage and will make them legal nationwide.

Henegar agrees that marriage equality supporters are optimistic.

She says, "We at the ACLU firmly believe the Constitution and the fundamental right to marry that it contains – and the equal protection under the law that it guarantees – that ultimately, marriage equality will be the law in all 50 states."

Henegar points out that the institution of marriage is interwoven into so many aspects of society, including the tax code, parenting and health care. In her view, it is time for all people to have the same rights.

"Those of us for whom marriage recognition is not an issue, we take that for granted," she says. "But these cases have really demonstrated how important this institution has become to every phase of our lives, and it impacts us around every turn."

Same-sex marriage still is not legal in these states: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN