Indianapolis • A federal judge struck down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately allows gay couples to wed.
U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that the state’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal-protection clause because it treats couples differently based on their sexual orientation.
"Same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana," he wrote. "These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such."
The clerk in Marion County, home to Indianapolis, says the office will start issuing marriage licenses immediately.
The Indiana attorney general’s office said it would appeal the ruling but declined to comment further.
The ruling involves lawsuits filed by several gay couples, who along with the state had asked for a summary judgment in the case. Young’s ruling was mixed but was generally in favor of the gay couples and prevents the state from enforcing the ban.
Federal courts across the country have recently struck down gay marriage bans.
"Indiana now joins the momentum for nationwide marriage equality and Hoosiers can now proclaim they are on the right side of history," said Lambda Legal, the national gay rights group that represented five of the couples.
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