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INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage Wednesday, saying it violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

Because the federal judge did not issue a stay on this ruling, Indiana couples can start marrying immediately.

Marion County Clerk Beth White here said she is prepared to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her office downtown.

In May, U.S. District Judge Richard Young required the state to indefinitely recognize one same-sex couple's out-of-state marriage. At that time, Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, both 37, were the only same-sex couple to have their marriage legally recognized in Indiana.

Sandler and Quasney were married last year in Massachusetts and have been together 13 years. Quasney has terminal ovarian cancer.

Last week, the state fired its salvo in that case, asking a federal appeals court to overturn Young's ruling that temporarily recognized the couple's marriage. Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general, said state officials contend Young's May 8 ruling was incorrect.

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