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The Backlash Begins: Indiana Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Felony Punishable by Prison

Beginning July 2014, same-sex couples seeking marriage in the state can face serious time.

Photo Credit: jorg rose-oberreich/


On July 1 of next year, same-sex couples applying for a marriage license in Indiana will have committed a felony punishable by 18 months in prison an a $10,000 fine. The new crime stems from the revival  of a1997 law forbidding false information on a marriage license as a Class D felony. It will also make it a Class B misdemeanor -- punishable by up to 180 days in a jail and a maximum fine of $1,000 --  for clergy, judges, and others to perform a same-sex marriage.

The New Civil Rights Movement explains how the new rule works:

Because Indiana marriage license forms have a space for “male applicant” and “female applicant”, any same-sex couple filling out the form would automatically violate the law. The harsh penalties Indiana lawmakers have approved make it difficult for protest movements like the Campaign for Southern Equality’s “ We Do” Campaign, which encourages same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses as a protest in states that prohibit same-sex marriages.

Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Indiana, but legislators are contemplating adding a ban in an amendment the state's Constitution. The vote will be held in the January-March 2014 legislative session. 


Kristen Gwynne is an associate editor and drug policy reporter at AlterNet.  Follow her on Twitter: @KristenGwynne

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