Same-Sex Marriage Applicants in Indiana Could Face Prison Sentences


Same-sex couples in Indiana could face up to 3 years in prison should they attempt to secure a marriage license in the state.

According to an Indiana law enacted in 1997, it is a class D felony to submit false information on a marriage license application — including physical conditions such as the gender of the applicant. Because Indiana marriage license applications designate between male and female applicants for a marriage license, submission of such an application by a same-sex couple would trigger the law, regardless of whether or not the application is denied.

As noted by LGBTQ Nation, the law further penalizes any clergymen, mayor, city clerk or town clerk-treasurer who solemnizes a marriage of a couple of the same gender, triggering a class B misdemeanor with up to 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine.

Indiana lawmakers recently passed a revision of the state’s criminal code that reduces the maximum penalties of the 1997 law to 18 months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. However, the Indiana General Assembly will vote early next year on whether or not to prohibit any form of same-sex marriage or civil union in a constitutional amendment, as Indiana does not currently have a constitutional ban on such practices. Should the amendment pass, it will appear on the 2014 General Election ballot for state voter ratification. 

Indiana GOP Gov. Mike Pence has publicly supported the constitutional amendment, stating his intent to sign should the amendment pass in the Republican-controlled General Assembly. Recent polls suggest, however, that a majority of citizens in Indiana are in opposition to the amendment.

Sources: LGBTQ Nation, The Times of Northwest Indiana


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