Same-sex couples applying for marriage in Indiana could face jail time

4:14 PM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
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TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Same-sex couples applying for a marriage license in Indiana, where gay marriage is prohibited by law, could face prison time for submitting the application to their county clerk, even if it's denied.  

"Applicants for marriage do sign their paperwork under penalty of perjury," Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey said. "So if there is something on there that they know is false, then they would be eligible to be charged with making a false statement or committing perjury, which is a Class D felony."

Coffey said two men or two women seeking to marry would trigger the 1997 law.

Currently the state's electronic marriage license application specifically designates "male applicant" and "female applicant" sections for gathering required background data.

"In Indiana the law clearly states that one man and one woman are the only two who can apply for a marriage license and can have a marriage ceremony performed," Coffey explained. 

Those who were to submit false information on the marriage license could face up to 18 months in prison and a potential fine of up to $10,000.

"When our government doesn't support us, the LGB community, and we have all of these gay-straight alliances pop up, and you have all of these bullying issues, what type of message does that send to our children?" Ashley Smith with Pride Lafayette said.

"It's really disappointing to see that," Becky Ross with Pride Lafayette said. "As a member of the LGB community, to know that if I want to go in and apply for that marriage license to be equal with all of my straight friends and the other straight people across the state, that I can face serious penalty."

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.

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