U.S. District Court Strikes Down Indiana’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage
On June 25, 2014, U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Judge Young’s decision in Baskin et al v. Hogan et al can be found here. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has requested a stay of Judge Young’s decision pending an appeal. In the meantime, local Indiana courts have starting issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Unless Judge Young’s decision is stayed or overturned on appeal, Indiana employers will likely need to immediately recognize their employees’ same-sex marriages. As discussed in our earlier blog post, the U.S. Department of Labor has already issued proposed regulations that would require employers in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages to grant benefits under the FMLA to these couples.
Employers with religious objections to this decision will be carefully watching the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which is expected on June 30. That decision will address whether for-profit businesses can raise religious exemptions to the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act’s Contraceptive Mandate. If the Court confirms that for-profit businesses have a constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, such employers could assert religious objections to other laws, including those dealing with same-sex marriage.