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Friday, June 27, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "Joy, confusion showered on NWI same-sex marriages"

Here is a good story by Bill Dolan in today's NWI Times. It is long, I'll quote part of it; highlights are from ILB:

The same-sex marriage mill has been busy in Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties. * * *

Porter Circuit Judge Mary Harper said she married five couples early Thursday. "I met some really nice people today," the judge said of the couples, most of whom were professionals including three women with doctorate degrees.

"These couples have been together for a really long time — a 25-year couple, a 21-year couple, a 14-year couple," Harper said. "They own homes together. They have adopted children. They have been waiting and waiting and stayed loyal to each other, hoping that at some point they would get the opportunity to get married."

The judge said she took mental stock the night before as she prepared the weddings: "My personal philosophy is that a woman marries a man. I was raised one way, but not everything in the world happens the way Mary Harper got raised.

"The analysis I did was that in the courtroom I go to great lengths to afford people their constitutional rights in some very difficult situations, in criminal cases.

"If I can do that on a daily basis in that context, why would I not want to assist people in using a constitutional right in a far more civil, decent, loving situation? They have a right to do it, and I'm going to help them with their right," Harper said.

She said the couples were happy but concerned about an appeal that could reverse Wednesday's historic ruling. "The common question I got after the ceremonies is, what if a stay is entered? Are we still married? I told them the answer is yes. It is a lawful marriage," she said.

"They are very relieved to hear that, but I told them to go the clerk and get their certified (license) copies now."

LaPorte County Clerk Lynne Spevak said her office gave out licenses to eight couples, but she said that was the easy part.

"The state form still requires a record of gender identity. We just tell the partners somebody has to file on one side and some on another. People have been really great and understand the ruling came down quickly, and we were really caught off guard. I'm waiting for that to get corrected," Spevak said.

"We also have questions about whether these couples can change their last names. People are calling us from other states saying they got married in California, will we have to reapply here now? We don't have answers from our state. They left us hanging yesterday."

In LaPorte County, Derrick Deck, 35, and John Foster, 34, exchanged vows Thursday in the first same-sex marriage in LaPorte Circuit Court.

“On Facebook, I posted I finally feel free. Finally feel American," said Deck, a law clerk who has shared a home with Foster for the past 10 years.

Deck said he got out of bed throughout the night to check whether a stay in legalizing gay marriage in the state had been ordered in response to an appeal filed by Indiana's attorney general.

When no action had been taken on the appeal by 8 a.m., Deck and Foster rushed to acquire a marriage license and exchanged vows in a ceremony performed by Senior Judge T. Edward Page, who was assisted by Tom Alevizos, who sits on the bench full time in LaPorte Circuit Court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 27, 2014 09:02 AM
Posted to Indiana Government