News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

June 27, 2014

Parke County Clerk issues marriage licenses after clearance from court

Office hesitant to alter state form

ROCKVILLE — Before a stay was issued late Friday, the Parke County Clerk’s office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said county clerk Diana Hazlett.

She received a court order that authorized her to alter marriage license applications for same-sex couples. The online state application indicates “male” and “female.” The court order allows the clerk’s office to print out the application form and change “male” and “female” to “applicant 1” and “applicant 2,” she said.

She then can issue the marriage license, which the couple must have signed by the person performing the wedding.

Hazlett said “the law is very clear. You don’t alter a state form. I refused to alter them” without a court order.

Parke Circuit Judge Sam Swaim signed the court order Friday morning.

As of noon, one same-sex couple had obtained a marriage license, Hazlett said. She had no other inquiries.

She issued a press release to announce the change. “I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the state of Indiana. This ruling determines the law [banning same-sex marriage] to be unconstitutional and that I am required [by law] to issue licenses regardless of the sex of the couple. I take that oath very seriously and will not violate it knowingly. I am here to serve all of my constituents, and have to leave any personal or religious conflicts at the door.”

In Sullivan County, Clerk Peggy Goodman said she had hoped to have a court order Monday enabling her to alter the state marriage application.

“We haven’t had any inquiries” from same-sex couples, she said Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, she had indicated, “We’re definitely going to comply with the law and issue them [marriage licenses]. We don’t have a problem with that … but I don’t want forms to be incorrect.”

She was concerned about whether she could legally alter them.

Friday evening, however, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued a stay of the district court ruling that deemed Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban uncostitutional. All further marriage licenses for same-sex couples will be halted until the courts have settled the matter.

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