On Monday and Tuesday, my Facebook feed was filled up with status updates saying that the state of Indiana had now made it a felony for a gay couple to even apply for a marriage license. Jerame Davis at the Bilerico Project debunks this claim and explains where the confusion came from.
Everything you’ve read about this “new” Indiana law that makes criminals out of same-sex couples who apply for a marriage license is wrong. Dead wrong.
As a native Hoosier, this has me concerned. There is no new law in Indiana that makes criminals out of same-sex couples who apply for a marriage license. An already existing law was updated and there’s been a change in how the state processes marriage license applications. That’s the source of the confusion.
There is actually very little danger of triggering this law if a same-sex couple applies for a marriage license.
Let’s start with the law itself. This law has been in place since 1997 and is intended to penalize anyone who provides false information on a marriage license application as well as penalties for any public official who knowingly certifies false information on any government consent form. It is not tied specifically to same-sex marriage and predates Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban by half a decade…
As you can plainly see, the only change to the law was to strike out Class D felony and change that to a Level 6 felony – a lesser crime.
There’s a lot more detail there, but if you saw a story saying otherwise you might want to read the whole thing.