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4 couples sue Ind. over marriage ban

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Four gay couples from southern Indiana sued the state Friday, seeking to force Indiana to recognize same-sex marriages from out of state and issue licenses to same-sex couples.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New Albany, Ind., asks a federal judge to overturn Indiana’s Defense of Marriage Act, which declares same-sex marriages void even if another state recognizes the union.

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“How long do you wait before you decide ‘I think I’d like to stand up for myself,’ ” said 66-year-old Lane Stumler of New Albany, who wants to marry his longtime partner, Michael Drury. “How long do you wait to say that?”

Multiple rulings around the country have struck down same-sex marriage bans recently — from Texas to Kentucky. Those all came in the wake of a June ruling in the US Supreme Court that nullified part of the federal anti-gay-marriage law.

Dan Canon, one of several lawyers who are representing this suit’s plaintiffs and handling a similar one in Kentucky, said the attempt this legislative session to add a gay marriage ban to the Indiana’s constitution pushed the plaintiffs to move now.

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The state’s lawmakers approved an altered version of the proposed amendment, but it won’t go in front of voters this November. Such proposals must be approved twice by the Legislature, unchanged and in consecutive legislative sessions, in order to appear on the ballot. Plus, some argued that the US Supreme Court would probably be the final arbiter of the issue.

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