US: Indiana couples sue to overturn same-sex marriage ban

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Four couples in Indiana are attempting to overturn a state ban on same-sex marriage in a federal court case.

The lawsuit, filed today in the Southern District of Indiana, alleges that the ban on same-sex marriage denies the same-sex couples privileges provided to opposite-sex couples.

Attorney Daniel Canon said: “All of these couples that we represent are like any other opposite-sex couples in the state of Indiana. They live as married couples. They raise their kids together. They work and go to church in Indiana. They pay their taxes in the state of Indiana.”

“I think it’s fairly clear the people of Indiana cannot depend upon the legislature and the governor to do what is right, so we’re turning to the federal courts to do it.”

The lawsuit is the latest in a long line of legal challenges in the US, after a Supreme Court ruling laid down strong precedent for challenging bans by striking down the Defence of Marriage Act last year.

Last month the Indiana Senate advanced a bill which would constitutionally reinforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

State law in Indiana already limits marriage to between a man and a woman, but opponents of same-sex marriage were hoping the new legislation would help ward off legal challenges.

Currently 17 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages, while Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia and Texas have had bans struck down, pending appeal.

Kentucky was recently ordered to recognise same-sex marriages by March 20, but the governor has said he will hire lawyers to appeal the ruling.