By Lacy Scarmana
When Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban was lifted Wednesday by a federal judge who ruled it unconstitutional, hundreds of couples across the state rushed to county clerks offices to get married.
“To have the access to do what everybody else in our state and society does, which is go down to the courthouse and get hitched, is also about being part of the society, being a full human being and being recognized as a couple,” says FairTalk President and newlywed Jean Capler. “To be able to walk in and get that piece of paper is tremendous. It’s like yes, I am part of Indiana.”
FairTalk has been working to achieve marriage equality for same-sex couples by fostering respectful conversations in various social circles.
Meanwhile, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has requested a stay on the judge’s decision, which if granted, could halt same-sex marriages and stop the state from recognizing the marriages that have occurred this week.
“It basically would put the judge’s order on hold while an appeal progresses,” says legal expert Deborah Widiss. “The system is set up so that you can ask for an appeal to at least three judges and then you can see if the Supreme Court will grant a review after that.”
Some Hoosiers, including Micah Clark of the American Family Association, are praising Zoeller’s actions.
“Marriage is something that has always been recognized as the union of men and women for the best interest of children and we hope that the courts recognize that states have an interest in what marriage is and what marriage is not,” Clark says.
But others, including Indiana University GLBT support services coordinator Doug Bauder, say marriage has been redefined many times throughout history. Bauder notes that there was a time in America’s history when couples of different races were unable to wed and now the old perceptions of same-sex couples and marriages are shifting as well.
“I think we really need to recognize that marriage means many different things in different places,” Bauder says. “It’s the younger generation, I think, that is teaching the older generation to at least think this through.”