Eliminate Felony/Fine Charges for Gay Marriage Applicants
Beginning July 2014, any same sex couple that applies for a marriage license in the state of Indiana will be subject to the following:
IC 31-11-11-(sections as numbered below)
Sec. 1. A person who knowingly furnishes false information to a clerk of the circuit court when the person applies for a marriage license under IC 31-11-4 commits a Level 6 felony.
IC 31-11-4 includes Prerequisites for issuance of marriage license (IC 31-11-4-2) which states that “A clerk of a circuit court may not issue a marriage license unless the individuals who apply for the license have the authority to marry each other under IC 31-11-1.)
IC 31-11-1 includes Same sex marriages prohibited (IC 31-11-1-1) which states that “(a) Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female. (b) A marriage between persons of the same gender is void in Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is solemnized.”
Sec. 3. An applicant for a marriage license who knowingly furnishes false information concerning the applicant's physical condition to the clerk of a circuit court commits a Level 6 felony.
(Physical condition would include Gender)
Sec. 4. A clerk of the circuit court or a deputy of the clerk who issues a license to marry, knowing that the information concerning the physical condition of an applicant is false, commits a Class B misdemeanor.
(If said person knows the gender of the applicants is to be false)
Sec. 7. A person who knowingly solemnizes a marriage of individuals who are prohibited from marrying by IC 31-11-1 commits a Class B misdemeanor.
Under IC 31-11-6-1 Persons authorized to solemnize marriages states that “Marriages may be solemnized by any of the following:
(1) A member of the clergy of a religious organization (even if the cleric does not perform religious functions for an individual congregation), such as a minister of the gospel, a priest, a bishop, an archbishop, or a rabbi.
(2) A judge.
(3) A mayor, within the mayor's county.
(4) A clerk or a clerk-treasurer of a city or town, within a county in which the city or town is located.
(5) A clerk of the circuit court.
(6) The Friends Church, in accordance with the rules of the Friends Church.
(7) The German Baptists, in accordance with the rules of their society.
(8) The Bahai faith, in accordance with the rules of the Bahai faith.
(9) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in accordance with the rules of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
(10) An imam of a masjid (mosque), in accordance with the rules of the religion of Islam.”
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Solemnize means to observe or honor with solemnity, to perform with pomp or ceremony; especially to celebrate (a marriage) with religious rites, or to make solemn (dignify).
While the Indiana Code does not have a definition of the word “Solemnize”, IC 31-11-11-8 States that “A person who: (1) solemnizes a marriage; and (2) fails to file the marriage license and a duplicate marriage certificate with the clerk of the circuit court not later than ninety (90) days after the date the marriage was solemnized; commits a Class C infraction.”
Note: (1) solemnizes a marriage and (2) file the marriage license are completely separate tasks.
This being said, what are the penalties for said felonies and misdemeanors?
IC 35-50-2-7 Version b
Sec. 7. (a) A person who commits a Class D felony shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between six (6) months and three (3) years, with the advisory sentence being one and one-half (1 1/2) years. In addition, the person may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Sec. 3. A person who commits a Class B misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of not more than one hundred eighty (180) days; in addition, he may be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000).
What does this mean?
In the state of Indiana, the GOP (Republican Party) has revised the Indiana Code which, starting July 2014, will prevent Indiana (Unite States Citizens) from holding religious ceremonies in which their religious organizations clergy member (or other religious “power” authorized to solemnize marriages) does choose to solemnize the marriage of same sex couples.
This is an infringement upon the rights of United States Citizens and their right to freedom of religion in Article 1. Bill of Rights, Section 3 Freedom of religious opinions which states that “No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.” In Section 4 Freedom of religion which states that “No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.”
I have the right to freedom of religious opinion and freedom of religious preference. If the church where I worship feels that conducting same sex marriage ceremonies and the clergy where I worship wish to solemnize said marriage ceremonies, it is not the opinion of the state to decide whether this should or should not be allowed. Article 1, Section 3 of the Bill of Rights states that "no law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions" and that includes what decisions are made when referring to the union of two individuals who celebrate the love of one another, and the ceremony in which is conducted at said religious organizations establishment.
I urge you to reconsider your stance and eliminate the threat of punishment upon two individuals who love one another.