Same-sex couples applying for marriage licenses in Indiana, where gay marriage is illegal, could face Class D felony charges just for submitting their application to the clerk, even if it is denied. A 1997 state law declares that it is illegal to falsify any information on a marriage license application, including physical conditions such as gender. It’s possible for a same-sex couple to trigger the law since there is a designated place on the electronic marriage license for the “male applicant” and another for the “female applicant.”
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Any clergyman, judge, mayor, city clerk, or town clerk-treasurer who performs a same-sex marriage ceremony or solemnize a same-sex marriage in any way, could face a Class B misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1000. It is not presently known if any gay or straight hoosiers have faced charges for submitting false information on their marriage license application. NWI Politics notes that since the offense is not a felony, a conviction would not automatically remove a clerk from office if they choose to ignore the law and issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.
Lawmakers proposal to add a same-sex marriage ban to the state constitution, including any kind of civil union, was delayed until the January-March 2014 legislative session. Recent polls show that a majority of Indiana residents oppose the constitutional amendment which would ban same-sex marriages and civil unions. [TR]