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Ind. same-sex couples face waiting game on whether marriages are valid

Monday, June 30, 2014
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Adam Shoffner, right, shouts his joy after he married Daniel Tolliver, left, Thursday, June 26, 2014, as Marion County Clerk Beth White looks on.  AP

Adam Shoffner, right, shouts his joy after he married Daniel Tolliver, left, Thursday, June 26, 2014, as Marion County Clerk Beth White looks on.

Young’s decision “reset” Indiana law, she said, but the stay changed it back again and rendered the marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples this week invalid.

However, Drobac added that she believes the appellate court will eventually find the ban unconstitutional as other courts have done. Unless higher courts completely overrule Judge Young, Drobac said, that means the same-sex marriages performed in Indiana since Wednesday will eventually be recognized.

“This legal flip-flopping is not good for Indiana because it creates uncertainty and undermines the rule of law and the power of legal authority,” she said.

Angie Nussmeyer, a spokeswoman for the Marion County clerk’s office, which issued hundreds of marriage licenses and married hundreds of same-sex couples this week, said the office is consulting attorneys in an attempt to determine those couples’ status.

Another law professor who has been tracking gay marriage cases said the issue is unsettled not only in Indiana, but in other states where similar stays have been issued.

“I do think those couples who were married before the stay are going to be in some kind of legal limbo for a while,” said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law.

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For the gay and lesbian couples married this week, it’s not a legal issue, but an emotional one.

Mary Ponterio of South Bend was traveling when she heard about Young’s ruling, and she and her partner Linda ran to the St. Joseph County clerk’s office just before the stay was issued Friday afternoon. The couple uses the same last name.

The official time noted on their marriage certificate was 5:51 p.m. – just minutes after the stay was issued.

“We went from sky-high happiness to tears,” Linda Ponterio told the South Bend Tribune.

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