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Bowling v. Pence

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

August 19, 2014

MICHELLE BOWLING, SHANNON BOWLING, and LINDA BRUNER, Plaintiffs,
v.
MICHAEL PENCE, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Indiana; GREGORY ZOELLER, in his official capacity as Attorney General for the State of Indiana; MICHAEL ALLEY, in his capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Revenue; and ANITA SAMUEL, in her official capacity as Executive Director of the Indiana Department of State Personnel, Defendants

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For MICHELLE BOWLING, SHANNON BOWLING, LINDA BRUNER, Plaintiffs: Jennifer R. Mann, Lisa Marie Joachim, Megan L. Clearwaters, Todd Douglas Small, RICHARD A. MANN, PC, Indianapolis, IN; Richard A. Mann, Indianapolis, IN.

For MICHAEL PENCE, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Indiana, GREGORY ZOELLER, in his official capacity as Attorney General for the State of Indiana, MICHAEL ALLEY, in his official capacity oas Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Revenue, ANITA SAMUEL, in her capacity as Executive Director of the Indiana Department of State Personnel, Defendants: Thomas M. Fisher, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Indianapolis, IN.

Page 1027

ENTRY ON CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

RICHARD L. YOUNG, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Plaintiffs, Michelle Bowling, Shannon Bowling, and Linda Bruner, all currently reside in Indiana and are members of same-sex marriages. Plaintiffs brought suit against the Defendants to challenge the constitutionality of Indiana Code Section 31-11-1-1(b), which states: " 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." Plaintiffs and Defendants filed cross motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and DENIES Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

Michelle and Shannon were married in Polk County, Iowa on January 18, 2011. They currently reside in Marion County, Indiana, with Michelle's children from a prior relationship. Shannon is employed by the Department of Corrections of the State of Indiana. Through this employment, Shannon is eligible to participate in the State's benefit plans managed by Defendant, Anita Samuel, Executive Director of the Indiana Department of State Personnel; however, the state will not recognize Michelle as her spouse or Michelle's children for such benefits because of Section 31-11-1-1(b). This causes both parties economic harms and stigmatic harms.

Linda married her wife, Lori, on July 20, 2013, after nearly seven years of dating. Unfortunately, Linda's and Lori's marriage has reached a point where they have irreconcilable differences, and Linda has received a protective order against her wife. Linda filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Marion Superior Court under Cause Number 49D05-1301-DR-3893. The Marion Superior Court dismissed the action, sua sponte, finding that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction because of Section 31-11-1-1. Linda filed a motion to correct errors, which the trial court denied. Linda plans to file her Notice of Appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals.

II. Standard

The purpose of summary judgment is to " pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate if the record " shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine issue of material fact exists if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party on the particular issue. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

On a motion for summary judgment, the burden rests with the moving party to demonstrate " that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After the moving party demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue for trial, the responsibility shifts to the non-movant to " go beyond the pleadings" and point to evidence of a genuine factual dispute precluding summary judgment. Id. at 322-23. " If the non-movant

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does not come forward with evidence that would reasonably permit the finder of fact to find in her favor on a material question, then the court must enter summary judgment against her." Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 585-87); see Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-24; see also Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-52.

Prior to discussing the merits of the summary judgment motions, the court must decide several threshold issues. First, the court must address Plaintiffs' motion to strike. Second, the court must determine whether Defendants, Attorney General Zoeller, Governor Pence, and Michael Alley, Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Revenue (" Department of Revenue Commissioner" ) are proper parties, and third, whether Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810, 93 S.Ct. 37, 34 L.Ed.2d 65 (1972) bars the present lawsuit.

III. Motion to Strike

Plaintiffs move to strike Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment as untimely. The court notes that pursuant to Local Rule 7-1, " a motion must not be contained within a brief, response, or reply." As such, the court need not consider the motion to strike. Even if the court considered it, the court would deny this motion because the court's scheduling order was not intended to require Defendants to file cross motions for summary judgment by that date as evidenced by the proceedings in ...


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