Author Topic: Indiana GOP passes law making it a crime for clergy to perform gay weddings  (Read 3016 times)

Jim_Krauser

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Would this even apply to clergy blessing of a civil marriage which occured in another state where such a marriage would be legal?
 
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Indiana GOP passes law making it a crime for clergy to marry gays (AmericaBlog)
Indiana GOP passes law making it a crime for clergy to marry gays

"In what appears to be a rather massive violation of the freedom of religion, the Republican party in Indiana appears to have amended the state criminal code to either make it a crime, or confirm that it remain a crime, for clergy to conduct weddings for gay couples.
While it is not widely known, numerous mainstream American religions permit gay nuptials. The faiths include reform Judaism, Evangelical Lutherans, Episcopalians, and the United Church of Christ, among others.
The amendment to the criminal code, which will go into effect on July 1, 2014, makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 for clergy “solemnize” a marriage of two men or two women:"


IC 31-11-11-7
Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from marrying
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits a Class B misdemeanor.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.



Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/politics-other-controversies/1904418-indiana-gop-passes-law-making-crime.html#ixzz2YaevQfR7
Jim Krauser

Pastor-Grace Evang. Lutheran Church, North Bellmore, NY

George Erdner

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Would this even apply to clergy blessing of a civil marriage which occured in another state where such a marriage would be legal?
 
Comments?
 
Indiana GOP passes law making it a crime for clergy to marry gays (AmericaBlog)
Indiana GOP passes law making it a crime for clergy to marry gays

"In what appears to be a rather massive violation of the freedom of religion, the Republican party in Indiana appears to have amended the state criminal code to either make it a crime, or confirm that it remain a crime, for clergy to conduct weddings for gay couples.
While it is not widely known, numerous mainstream American religions permit gay nuptials. The faiths include reform Judaism, Evangelical Lutherans, Episcopalians, and the United Church of Christ, among others.
The amendment to the criminal code, which will go into effect on July 1, 2014, makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $1,000 for clergy “solemnize” a marriage of two men or two women:"


IC 31-11-11-7
Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from marrying
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits a Class B misdemeanor.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.



Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/politics-other-controversies/1904418-indiana-gop-passes-law-making-crime.html#ixzz2YaevQfR7


I thought only state legislatures could pass state laws. When did it change so that a political party had the power to pass a law?


LutherMan

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Yep, this is a false headline...

Chuck

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Yep, this is a false headline...

On several levels.

Also subject to the law would be a judge, a magistrate, a clerk of the circuit court, or a clerk or clerk-treasurer of a city or town. All are authorized to perform weddings in Indiana.

However, to the original question, I would think not since the blessing of a civil marriage is a church rite, and therefore covered by the first amendment.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 07:09:26 PM by Chuck »
Chuck Ruthroff

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scott8

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It is also illegal under IC 31-11-1 (IC 31-11-1-3) to sanction bigamous marriages, and by implication, other plural marriages.  Islam allows men to marry up to four wives.  This has already impinged upon religious liberty because Muslims are not allowed by this law to solemnize such marriages.

Also outlawed under the same statute is underage marriage (i.e., under the age of 18, or, in some circumstances, 17) as is the marriage of individuals closely related.

Perhaps the entire statute is wrong-headed, and the state should not make illegal the solemnizing of any marriage in order to avoid any First Amendment entanglements.  Rather, the state would only recognize the relationships it sees fit to recognize without punishing the religious rite one way or another.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 07:24:51 PM by Scott Yakimow »

Mike in Pennsylvania

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In many states it is a misdemeanor to conduct a wedding service without the couple having obtained a valid marriage license.  Since every state's laws prohibit some sort of marriage (bigamy, first cousins, etc.) conducting such a marriage could theoretically result in criminal charges against a pastor -- though I wonder how many district attorneys would bother to pursue that.  Indiana seems to be underlining its opposition to homosexual weddings by specifically including those in the statute.
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scott8

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In many states it is a misdemeanor to conduct a wedding service without the couple having obtained a valid marriage license.  Since every state's laws prohibit some sort of marriage (bigamy, first cousins, etc.) conducting such a marriage could theoretically result in criminal charges against a pastor -- though I wonder how many district attorneys would bother to pursue that.  Indiana seems to be underlining its opposition to homosexual weddings by specifically including those in the statute.

That's interesting.  Since I've never been a parish pastor, I was unaware of this, though it makes sense.  Do you have a link to some info that I could peruse?

Bergs

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Let's just take marriage out of the law.  This Indiana law is stupid if it does not allow a church to marry who they want (not legally but spiritually).  If the Feline Divine church wants to solemnize a marriage between a woman and a cat, that should be their right.  It means nothing in the law but if they want to do it go ahead.

Really folks, the laws that were made were made because there was a common understanding of marriage.  Marriage was understood by culture and well-taught by the churches.   Now moving to the marry what you love definition, society has completely gone beserk.  The only remedy to to eliminate marriage from the law.

Done.

Brian J. Bergs
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peter_speckhard

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Because clergy have the legal authority to perform weddings, and because weddings so performed carry legal ramifications, it is illegal to give someone the impression you are marrying them in the eyes of the state when you are not. Conducting a formal wedding service for someone who cannot be legally married would be like impersonating a police officer-- it would lead to legal confusion. Some teenage girl thinks she's getting married to a tycoon only to discover after the "honeymoon" that it was a sham ceremony and he is married to someone else. That sort of thing.

scott8

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Because clergy have the legal authority to perform weddings, and because weddings so performed carry legal ramifications, it is illegal to give someone the impression you are marrying them in the eyes of the state when you are not. Conducting a formal wedding service for someone who cannot be legally married would be like impersonating a police officer-- it would lead to legal confusion. Some teenage girl thinks she's getting married to a tycoon only to discover after the "honeymoon" that it was a sham ceremony and he is married to someone else. That sort of thing.

Good point.

Charles_Austin

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Peter writes:
Because clergy have the legal authority to perform weddings, and because weddings so performed carry legal ramifications, it is illegal to give someone the impression you are marrying them in the eyes of the state when you are not

I comment:
But if you do not give that impression and it is clear to everyone involved that the service performed does not create what the state calls a "marriage," then what?
Do we in the church require the permission of the state (in the form of a "license") before we can officiate at a wedding? I don't think so!

As for the "Indiana law," something smells fishy about the whole effort. Much much more info is needed before people panic.

Dan Fienen

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Extracts from the Indiana Code TITLE 31 http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2010/title31/ar11/
 
 
IC 31-11-1-1
Same sex marriages prohibited
Sec. 1. (a) Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may
marry a female.
(b) A marriage between persons of the same gender is void in
Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is
solemnized.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3. Amended by P.L.198-1997, SEC.1.
 
IC 31-11-4-13
Duty to present marriage license to individual authorized to
solemnize marriages
Sec. 13. Individuals who intend to marry each other must present
a marriage license that is issued under this chapter to an individual
who is authorized by IC 31-11-6 to solemnize marriages.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.
[/size]
IC 31-11-4-14
Marriage license as authorization of solemnization of marriage
Sec. 14. A marriage license that is issued under this chapter is the
legal authority for an individual who is authorized to solemnize
marriages to marry two (2) individuals.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.[/i]
IC 31-11-11-7
Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from
marrying
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of
individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits
a Class B misdemeanor.

As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.
------------------------------------------
[/size]It is perhaps a somewhat philosophical point.  Is it a marriage if the legal authority for the place where the marriage is taking place says it is not a marriage.  If so, whatever a cleric may do with a couple, it is not a marriage within the law if the legal requirements are not carried out, nor should he or she imply otherwise.  (It is also against the law the pretend to solemnize and marriage when one is not, in fact, authorized to do so.)  So long as the action is clearly not represented as solemnizing a legal marriage, perhaps it would not fall under these statutes (I'm not a lawyer.)  Giving a blessing to a couple making a commitment that is not represented as a legal marriage, I doubt that the state would care.
[/size]In Illinois, it is a requirement that a marriage be solemnized in the county from which the license is obtained.  Occasionally that requires some extra work to do the actual legal ceremony in the proper county even if the church service is elsewhere.  A friend of mine who was outside Chicago had a favorite mall parking lot where he would do the actual legal solemnization on the way from the church to the reception.
[/size]If a pastor wanted to perform a same sex wedding in Indiana, so long as it was clear that it was not being performed with the expectation that the couple were legally married, it would seem likely that there would not be legal complications.  But not even pastors can rewrite the specific law that prohibits same sex marriage in Indiana.  Call it a commitment ceremony if you like.  For that matter, if a pastor wanted to start performing "Going Steady" ceremonies or "We're Moving in Together and Taking It to the Next Level" ceremonies, who would stop him or her, unless he presented it as establishing a legal relationship.
[/size]Dan
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 11:27:47 PM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Charles_Austin

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Pastor Fienen writes:
If a pastor wanted to perform a same sex wedding in Indiana, so long as it was clear that it was not being performed with the expectation that the couple were legally married, it would seem likely that there would not be legal complications.
I comment:
That's my point. We don't need the approval of the state to do what we do.
But the day will come - probably rather soon - when gay marriages will be legal in Indiana.

Paul O Malley

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Extracts from the Indiana Code TITLE 31 http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2010/title31/ar11/
 
 
IC 31-11-1-1
Same sex marriages prohibited
Sec. 1. (a) Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may
marry a female.
(b) A marriage between persons of the same gender is void in
Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is
solemnized.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3. Amended by P.L.198-1997, SEC.1.
 
IC 31-11-4-13
Duty to present marriage license to individual authorized to
solemnize marriages
Sec. 13. Individuals who intend to marry each other must present
a marriage license that is issued under this chapter to an individual
who is authorized by IC 31-11-6 to solemnize marriages.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.
[/size]
IC 31-11-4-14
Marriage license as authorization of solemnization of marriage
Sec. 14. A marriage license that is issued under this chapter is the
legal authority for an individual who is authorized to solemnize
marriages to marry two (2) individuals.
As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.[/i]
IC 31-11-11-7
Solemnization of marriage between persons prohibited from
marrying
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of
individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits
a Class B misdemeanor.

As added by P.L.1-1997, SEC.3.
------------------------------------------
[/size]It is perhaps a somewhat philosophical point.  Is it a marriage if the legal authority for the place where the marriage is taking place says it is not a marriage.  If so, whatever a cleric may do with a couple, it is not a marriage within the law if the legal requirements are not carried out, nor should he or she imply otherwise.  (It is also against the law the pretend to solemnize and marriage when one is not, in fact, authorized to do so.)  So long as the action is clearly not represented as solemnizing a legal marriage, perhaps it would not fall under these statutes (I'm not a lawyer.)  Giving a blessing to a couple making a commitment that is not represented as a legal marriage, I doubt that the state would care.
[/size]In Illinois, it is a requirement that a marriage be solemnized in the county from which the license is obtained.  Occasionally that requires some extra work to do the actual legal ceremony in the proper county even if the church service is elsewhere.  A friend of mine who was outside Chicago had a favorite mall parking lot where he would do the actual legal solemnization on the way from the church to the reception.
[/size]If a pastor wanted to perform a same sex wedding in Indiana, so long as it was clear that it was not being performed with the expectation that the couple were legally married, it would seem likely that there would not be legal complications.  But not even pastors can rewrite the specific law that prohibits same sex marriage in Indiana.  Call it a commitment ceremony if you like.  For that matter, if a pastor wanted to start performing "Going Steady" ceremonies or "We're Moving in Together and Taking It to the Next Level" ceremonies, who would stop him or her, unless he presented it as establishing a legal relationship.
[/size]Dan

I would think that if this issue were to come up it would be part of an attempt at "civil disobedience" seeking to provoke just such a prosecution.  If I were a prosecutor in the county where the wedding ceremony took place I would decline to prosecute on the basis that since Indiana law makes it a legal impossibility for two people of the same gender to wed no wedding had in fact occurred.  Since the acts of the person performing the "solemnization" had no legal consequences, no solemnization, in terms of the law, had occurred. 

 
Paul O'Malley - NALC layman
Supporting the observance of Central Time across Indiana since 1967.

Charles_Austin

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Good thinking, Mr. O'Malley. Good thinking indeed. Works for me. Since there cannot be a same-sex "marriage," whatever the padre did with that couple, he didn't preside at one. Twisty, but amusing. And it gets everyone off the hook.
I suspect that the wording in question is inserted by politicians seeking to curry favor with the anti-gay wedding people. They did not think of the possible oppression of "liberal" churches and their religious freedom, or they didn't care, because "their" people aren't in those churches. It is Indiana, after all.