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Activists Awaiting Judge's Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

Activists on both sides of the gay-marriage issue have been awaiting a federal judge's ruling on whether Indiana's ban on those unions is constitutional. If it isn't, the next question will be when that ruling takes effect.

Judges in several states have thrown out gay-marriage bans, then immediately put those rulings on hold until an appeals court could consider them. In four states, appeals courts issued stays a few days after lower courts declined to do so.

I-U-P-U-I McKinney School of Law Professor David Orentlicher says judges assess the harm that would be done to each side by delaying a ruling, and the likelihood that a ruling would be overturned on appeal. But judges have discretion to decide for themselves the answers to those questions.

About 26-hundred same-sex couples in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Utah got married in the time between a lower-court ruling and a stay from an appeals court. Orentlicher says it's unclear what happens to those marriages if the state laws are reinstated.

A judge last month ordered Indiana to recognize one Hoosier lesbian couple as married. The state has appealed.

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