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Same-sex Indiana couples seeking marriage could be charged with perjury

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 7:48 am

LAFAYETTE — Same-sex couples applying for a marriage license in Indiana could face a charge of perjury simply for submitting the application to their county clerk.

Marriage applicants sign their paperwork under penalty of perjury, Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey told WLFI-TV for a story Tuesday.

"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.

A Class D felony carries a possible penalty of six months to three years in jail and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

Indiana's current electronic marriage license application specifically designates "male applicant" and "female applicant" sections for gathering required background information. Coffey says that means if two men or two women applied for a marriage license, one of them would commit perjury.

"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 said.

Same-sex marriage advocates said the law isn't fair.

"When our government doesn't support us, the (lesbian-gay-bisexual) 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?" said Ashley Smith of Pride Lafayette.

The Indiana General Assembly is expected next year to try to write the state's gay marriage ban into the constitution, a move that would need approval from voters in a statewide referendum.