Politics
11:56 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Indiana Gov. Pence Wrong to Ignore Same-Sex Marriages, Marion County Clerk Says

Beth White
Credit www.bethwhite.org

The clerk of Indiana's largest county on Thursday rebuked Governor Mike Pence's order for agencies not to recognize same-sex marriages.

 Marion County Clerk Beth White, estimates that dozens of marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples between June 25-27 after a federal judge said the state's ban on gay marriages was unconstitutional.  The governor's office later told executive agencies to ignore the unions entered during that period.

White, whose office covers Indianapolis,  told WFPL on Thursday she is proud of issuing marriage licenses to those couples, and it is time for Pence to put the issue behind Indiana.

"Governor Pence really is not making the right decision and needs to respect the decision of the federal court," said White, a Democrat who is running for Indiana secretary of state this year.

"What it means is these same gender couples are now again being considered second-class citizens, even though their marriage was perfectly legal—they came in, they paid their fee, and they got a legal marriage."

Days after the initial ruling, a federal appeals court stayed the original decision putting those same-sex couples' marital status  in legal limbo.

The Marion County Clerk's Office issued about 600 marriage licenses between June 25-27, but the clerk's office didn't track how many went to same-sex couples, White said. 

White is running for Indiana secretary of state against Republican incumbent Connie Lawson. The White campaign is calling on Lawson to publicly reject the governor's decision.

A Lawson spokesperson did not immediately return WFPL's request for comment.

The secretary of state's office doesn't perform marriages or issue licenses, but White said supporting equality is important in this race because it speaks to changing Indiana's business climate by welcoming all people.

"I happen to know a number of people, young people in particular, who don't stay in the state because they, gay or straight, don't believe Indiana's a welcoming place for them," said White. "They don't believe their friends or colleagues will be welcome, and that is a very dangerous thing for a state."

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