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A Message To Lawmakers: A Dozen Gay Marriages In Bloomington

Elected officials, along with members of the clergy and a dozen local couples, took a symbolic stand against Indiana’s gay marriage ban Thursday night.

WEDDING RING

Photo: Stan Jastrzebski/WFIU News

Two women hold hands during a symbolic wedding ceremony Thursday night in Bloomington.

On the same day leaders in the Indiana House and Senate wavered on whether to debate putting a same-sex marriage ban bill to a vote this session, gay couples in Bloomington took a stage together to show how they felt – both for one another and about the bill.

Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan opened the ceremony by saying he hoped someday his role wouldn’t be symbolic – noting that mayors have the right to marry people in Indiana, just not same-sex couples.  The audience – many of them there to see a GLBTQ film festival – cheered the brides and grooms and the couples sealed their unions with a kiss.

But Kruzan says he’s under no illusions about the legality of the proceedings, even if he believes he’s in an expanding minority of elected leaders.

“It is symbolic and it’s not power that’s vested in me as the mayor of Bloomington but I think it’s important for people to realize that there are a lot of people who depend on votes willing to stand up and say ‘This is what we would like to have the power to do.’”

Still, when the first votes to put the marriage ban to a constitutional referendum were taken in 2011, more than three-fourths of tallies were for the ban.

Susan Ferentinos and her partner of 20 years, Danielle McClelland, were one of the dozen couples to take part.  Ferentinos says even if the pair don’t get the same rights as heterosexual married couples as a result of the ceremony, it’s a gesture she thinks lawmakers might notice…

“Ceremonies like this are providing a means for people to see the folks that these laws are affecting,” Ferentinos says.  “It means a lot.”

“I only wish it were real,” McClelland added.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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