There is a new fight over the right to marry in Indiana. The Americans Civil Liberties Union is suing the state, saying Indiana’s marriage laws are unconstitutional. The suit centers, not around the couple, but around who’s performing the ceremony.
John Kiel is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Kiel is engaged to marry Michelle Landrum. The couple quickly ran into a problem finding someone to do their ceremony.
“My fiancé and I are both long-term members of the Center for Inquiry. The Center for Inquiry represents our personal beliefs and values.”
The Center for Inquiry is a national organization with beliefs based in science and common sense.
Reba Boyd Wooden is the Indianapolis executive director.
“It's a good moral stance. It's a good philosophy to live your life.”
The problem for Kiel and Landrum is that the Center for Inquiry, while a belief system, is not a religious group. According to current Indiana law, it is not approved to perform weddings. Kiel and Landrum could be married by a county official or judge “legally” and then have a ceremony later. They could also use a religious minster to make it official, but Kiel says, “that isn't what we wanted for our marriage. “
The ACLU has now filed a lawsuit in federal court against Marion County and the clerk basically arguing that Indiana law discriminates against non-religious people and gives preference to religious people.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller released a statement saying, “My office will defend the authority of the people`s elected representatives in the Legislature to determine who may solemnize legal marriages in this state. This statute was first enacted in 1997 and amended in 1999; and this constitutional challenge is a test of the authority of the state.”
Zoeller’s office told Fox59 that they had not been served with the lawsuit as of Thursday, but have heard that it is coming.
“For us it's a matter of principle," said Boyd Wooden. "We shouldn't be forced to portray ourselves as religious. We should be able to do it under a secular certification.”
Kiel and Landrum said they aren’t trying to re-define marriage with this case. The couple said they just want to be able to get married legally using a person from their belief system.
ACLU files lawsuit against Marion County on behalf of non-religious couples
The suit centers, not around the couple, but around who's performing the ceremony.