Applying For A Marriage Licence Could Get You Jail Time
INDIANAPOLIS -- Applying for a marriage license in Indiana as a same sex couple is a felony in Indiana according to a 1997 ban on same-sex marriages and offenders risk a possible three year prison sentence.
The law reads that it is a Class D felony to submit false information on a marriage license application or lie about the physical condition, including gender, of a marriage license applicant.
In a report published Saturday, the Northwest Indiana Times noted that a same-sex couple seeking to marry would trigger the law for submitting the application to their county clerk -- even if it's denied.
The law also penalizes clergyman, judge, mayor, city clerk or town clerk-treasurer who solemnizes a marriage between two people of the same gender. Those who conduct a gay marriage ceremony can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The state's lawmakers recently passed an overhaul of the the Indiana criminal code to take effect on July 1, 2014 that would reduce the severity of the felony charges as well as reducing the maximum prison time to 18 months in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000. According to the paper, the number of the state's residents who have been charged under the current law is unknown.
Indiana currently does not have a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, however, the Republican-controlled General Assembly will have under consideration for the January-March 2014 legislative session, a proposed constitutional amendment -- which also prohibits any form of civil unions -- to pass and then submit to the state's voters for ratification. The amendment is supported by GOP Governor Mike Pence who has declared his intent to sign the measure and if passed, would appear on the November 2014 general elections ballot.
Recent polling in Indiana have found a majority of the state's voters oppose a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage as well as civil unions.