Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

June 27, 2014

Decatur County among minority not issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Greensburg — GREENSBURG — In regards to the issuance of marriage licenses, little has changed at the Decatur County Courthouse following a Federal judge’s ruling on Wednesday that Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and violates the US Constitution’s Equal Protection clause.

The absence of any same-sex marriage licenses granted from the County Clerk’s office since Wednesday’s ruling, however, isn’t due to a lack of interest. Republican Decatur County Clerk Janet Chadwell told the Daily News that she received five calls on Wednesday inquiring about a same-sex license and two as of late Thursday afternoon.

For now, though, Chadwell won’t be issuing any such licenses, citing a handful of reasons. For one, she said, the state marriage license form refers only to a male and female applicant. On that form, the clerk signs a statement attesting that a male and female are standing in front her, joining in marriage, she said. The clerk’s signature finalizes the form and Chadwell said that signing off on such a statement would be tantamount to perjuring herself.

“I don’t feel I should perjure myself and sign that there was a male and female in front of me when there wasn’t,” she said.

“Since it’s a state form,” she continued, “I can’t legally change it. It has to go through a process.”

Chadwell isn’t the only Indiana county official taking that stance or a similar one regarding Wednesday’s ruling, but her viewpoint certainly puts Decatur County in a minority. According to Daily News partner WISH-TV, Decatur was one of only 14 Indiana counties as of Thursday afternoon that had not begun issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

The problem with the license form and the potential for perjury weren’t Chadwell’s only concerns. The Decatur County Clerk also told the Daily News she worries Wednesday’s ruling could lead to unexpected or unforeseen consequences regarding other marriage-related issues.

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