July 25, 2014 at 6:20 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
ACLU won’t sue for marriage recognition in Indiana

Mike Pense, Republican Party, Indiana, gay news, Washington Blade

The state won’t sue Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) for not recognizing same-sex marriage performed in his state (Photo public domain).

The Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union announced on Friday it won’t file a lawsuit to compel the state to recognize the same-sex nuptials performed in the Hoosier State when marriage equality was briefly legal there.

In an unsigned blog posting, the ACLU of Indiana says its opted not to pursue litigation to ensure state recognition of same-sex marriages performed in Indiana because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block state benefits to same-sex couples married in Utah.

“Because of this, there does not appear to be any benefit to filing a new lawsuit here asking a court in Indiana to declare our window period marriages valid under state law,” the posting states. “If we won, a stay would likely be entered immediately and nothing would change.”

A district court last month struck down Indiana’s marriage ban as unconstitutional, allowing hundreds of same-sex couples to wed in state — including more than 500 in Indianapolis — before the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals halted the marriages by instituting a stay pending appeal.

Following the stay, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, known for his social conservative views, announced his state won’t recognize the unions for the purposes of state benefits, citing similar policy enacted by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on same-sex marriage in that state.

But there’s still a question over whether the Obama administration will recognize the same-sex marriage performed in Indiana as valid for the purposes of federal benefits remains in question.

Although U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the federal government will recognize the marriages performed after similar court rulings in Utah and Michigan, but has made no such announcement Indiana, Wisconsin and Arkansas. The Human Rights Campaign has called for such an announcement in Wisconsin and Arkansas and the ACLU has done so for Indiana.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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