Lebanon Reporter

State News

March 8, 2014

Couples want equal rights in same-sex suit

Eight plaintiffs challenge Indiana's gay marriage ban

(Continued)

Canon and his eight clients are taking aim at the Indiana statute that reads, “Only a female may marry a male. Only a male may marry a female.A marriage between persons of the same gender is void in Indiana even if the marriage is lawful in the place where it is solemnized.”“All of these couples that we represent are like any other opposite-sex couples in the state of Indiana,” he said. “They live as married couples. They raise their kids together. They work and go to church in Indiana. They pay their taxes in the state of Indiana.”Canon said that the U.S. Supreme Court, through United States vs. Windsor, ruled last year that it is unconstitutional to treat homosexual partnerships differently than heterosexual couples.“We are asking the Indiana federal court to recognize what every other court in the country has recognized [since U.S. vs. Windsor].” Canon said. “At this point, I think, it is fairly clear that the people of Indiana can not depend on the legislature to do what is right, to protect their civil liberties and their constitutional rights, so we have turned to the federal courts.”Clients Jo Ann Dale and Carol Uebelhoer, Otisco, were wed in Massachusetts five years ago and have been together for 35 years.“We are involved in this suit because it is right we be treated the same as similarly situated people,” Dale said, adding that she and Uebelhoer want to be afforded the same “practical” rights and obligations given to married couples in Indiana.

If the lawsuit results in equal rights for all Hoosiers, Dale hopes routine tasks, such as filling out forms, will no longer be such a strange experience.“There is almost always a question about your martial status, and it is really peculiar to not know how to answer the question,” she said. “We feel ourselves to be married. We are committed to each other. We have a license from Massachusetts, and, yet, in Indiana we are supposed to not be married.”Dale said she and Uebelhoer fill out a joint form when doing federal taxes, but separate forms for state taxes.“It feels so schizophrenic to not be recognized as who we really are,” Dale said.

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