News & Politics

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.

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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.