- Attorneys on either side of a lawsuit over Wisconsin
and Indiana's overthrown gay marriage bans are
wrangling over how many federal judges should hear the
states' appeal, a technical issue that could make a
representing gay couples who want the bans overturned
permanently in both Indiana and Wisconsin filed briefs
on Monday arguing that a three-judge panel of the 7th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is enough. They say
three-judge panels in other districts have heard
similar cases and at least one has rejected a similar
motion for a full-court hearing.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller requested June 11 that
the full, 10-member court hear the case, which lawyers
call en banc review. Wisconsin made a similar move
last week after the same federal appeals court had
consolidated Indiana and Wisconsin's cases.
banc review would serve to provide the insights and
judgment of 10 well-respected judges, rather than just
three, which would benefit the judicial review process
no matter the outcome," Indiana attorney
general's office spokesman Bryan Corbin said in a
according to a legal expert, a full-court review
amounts to playing the odds.
panel of three may or may not be representative of the
whole court. There are going to be times when that
happens," David Orentlicher, a professor at
Indiana University's McKinney School of Law, said
states agree that the case should move rapidly through
the legal process.
of couples were married in Indiana from June 25, when
U.S. District Judge Richard Young struck down the
state's gay marriage ban, to June 27, when the 7th
Circuit put the decision on hold. The sole exception
to the appeals court stay in Indiana was an order for
the state to recognize the out-of-state marriage of
Amy Sandler and Nikole Quasney of Munster; Quasney is
dying of ovarian cancer.
Wisconsin, more than 500 couples got married after
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled June 6 that
the ban was a violation of gay couples' equal
protection and due process rights. Crabb put her
ruling on hold a week later and there have been no
in both states conducted in between when the bans were
struck down and put on hold remain in legal limbo.
American Civil Liberties Union, which is challenging
the bans in both states, argues that the marriages are
of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk sent a letter to
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on July 11 asking
him to issue a statement that the federal government
will recognize the marriages as he did in Utah and
Michigan, which would make Indiana's couples eligible
for federal benefits for married couples.
members of Congress from Wisconsin made a similar
marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of