A judge has rebuked Indiana’s governor for ordering his government not to recognise same-sex marriages, after claiming he didn’t have “authority to enforce” a marriage ban.
Governor Mike Pence was released as a defendant from a same-sex marriage lawsuit in June, after he claimed he did not have “any authority to enforce, or other role respecting” same-sex marriage bans.
However, following his release from the court case on the grounds he was not involved with the ban, Pence issued a memo directly instructing all Indiana state agencies to ignore a ruling in favour of same-sex marriage.
The memo told agencies to “execute their functions as though the U.S. District Court order [in favour of equal marriage] had not been issued”.
Judge Richard Young has attacked the Governor for his actions, labelling them a “bold misrepresentation” that he found “to be, at a minimum, troubling.”
He said: “The memoranda issued by the Governor clearly contradict his prior representations to the court.”
The judge has since stripped the Republican of his immunity in the lawsuit, meaning he may once again be named as a defendant as the case heads to appeals court.
His spokesperson Christy Denault claimed: “By law a governor exercises authority over the executive branch of government.
“Governor Pence has a duty to uphold the laws of the state and will continue to do so while respecting the courts’ rulings. That does not make the governor a proper party in every lawsuit against the State of Indiana.