Indiana News

Law Students Tally 614 Indiana Statutes Linked to Definition of Marriage

Gay-rights group warns of legal snarl if constitution is amended

11/26/2012

Opponents of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage say the amendment could affect 614 other state laws.

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Indiana Equality Action commissioned two dozen Indiana University law students to comb the Indiana code for every law that hinges on a spousal relationship. Donald Bierer says they found examples from inheritance and land-ownership laws to conflict of interest laws affecting who can issue a county approval for a fence around farmland.

Since same-sex marriage is already illegal, any potential dilemmas created by those laws already exist. But IEA executive director Rick Sutton predicts a constitutional amendment would unleash a blizzard of court challenges to those laws. And he notes legislators can't easily fix any unwanted conflicts if the ban becomes part of the constitution.

The group is promising an ad campaign on the scale of a gubernatorial election if the amendment goes to the voters in 2014. Legislators are expected to give the amendment its required reapproval in the House and Senate next year, though it hasn't been formally introduced yet.

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