INDIANAPOLIS - The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday issued a lightning-fast ruling finding Indiana's gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
It came just nine days after the Indiana and Wisconsin cases were argued before the three-judge panel.
"The challenged laws discriminate against a minority defined by an immutable characteristic, and the only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction - that same-sex couples and their children don't need marriage because same-sex couples can't produce children, intended or unintended - is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously," the ruling said.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller is expected to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The questioning of the state's attorneys by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges was harsh and the decision not a surprise given the demeanor.
In late June, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young tossed out Indiana’s ban on gay marriage, saying “it is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love.”
Hundreds of gay couples around the state ran to courthouses and got married in the days following, before the 7th Circuit issued a stay of the ruling.
The case involved three different lawsuits on behalf of a number of couples seeking the freedom to marry in Indiana or recognition of a marriage from another state.
The decision also ordered immediate recognition of all out-of-state same-sex marriages in Indiana.
The Indiana law withstood a state challenge in 2005 when the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the statute defining marriage as between one man and one woman. But this time, plaintiffs took their case to the federal system, where other state statutes have been struck down.
Specifically, Young ruled that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause and due process clause.
Indiana lawmakers this year fought over whether to put the state’s traditional definition of marriage into the Indiana Constitution, which would have presumably protected it from a state court ruling.
But they had no control over the federal courts.