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7th Circuit grants stay; gay marriages on hold

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in Friday and put a lower court’s ruling allowing gay marriage in Indiana on hold.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional on Wednesday. Attorney General Greg Zoeller immediately sought a stay while couples around the state began getting married.

Young didn’t rule on the stay, so Zoeller appealed Friday to the 7th Circuit in Chicago. That was issued by a three-judge panel with no explanation. That means no further gay marriages can be processed while the case is on appeal.

It is unclear the status of the marriages already finalized.

“We are extremely disappointed that the court has issued this stay, and we are committed to protecting the freedom to marry in Indiana,” said Kyle Megrath, of Hoosiers Unite for Marriage. “Hundreds of loving, committed couples were finally able to join in marriage this week, and we delivered more than 12,000 petition signatures today asking Attorney General Greg Zoeller not to pursue any appeals of the ruling overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“More than anything, this is a terrible blow to the legally wedded Indiana couples and their families who were finally – after so long – recognized this week under Indiana law.”

Zoeller’s office said county clerks would be notified that under the stay granted, Indiana’s marriage laws are again fully in force.

The 7th Circuit issued the stay about two hours after the Indiana Attorney General’s Office filed the motion. During the stay, the parties will have the opportunity to submit their arguments to the 7th Circuit in the appeal of the underlying lawsuits challenging Indiana’s marriage law.

nkelly@jg.net

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