Local gay marriage supporters react to appeals court ruling

Michiana gay marriage supporters cheered Thursday’s U.S. appeals court decision ruling Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional -- but they are awaiting the state’s appeal.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously to uphold the lower court’s June 25 decision to overturn the ban.

“It’s definitely a win, it's an important win,” said Michael Lane, co-organizer of Guerilla Gay Bar South Bend. “They're recognizing the fundamental discrimination that's going on and the way this affects children.”

Lane was hesitant to launch into celebrations; a state appeal is an almost certainty.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller released a statement Thursday night confirming that the state would seek a stay of the 7th Circuit’s ruling.

“It seems clear that a final resolution of the constitutional issues involving states’ authority over their marriage licenses will need a decision from our nation's highest court,” Zoeller’s statement said.

Until the 7th Circuit Court issues a mandate, the State’s previous stay halting same sex marriages will continue to be in effect.

Governor Mike Pence said his counsel would review the decision and was confident that the decision would ultimately end up in the hands of the U.S Supreme Court through appeal.

“I’m hoping there's a chance that the Governor and Attorney General of Indiana won’t appeal to the Supreme Court, I doubt that will happen,” Lane said. “It would be nice if they would take a second to sit down and recognize the discrimination they're encouraging by appealing this to the Supreme Court but I doubt that's going to happen.”

Willow Wetherall, a fellow organizer of Guerilla Gay Bar South Bend, said that no matter the legal actions that follow the ruling, the decision meant a victory for the children of gay couples.

Judge Richard Posner wrote that the marriage bans “threaten the welfare of American children.”

"The only rationale that the states put forth with any conviction — that same-sex couples and their children don't need marriage because same-sex couples can't produce children, intended or unintended — is so full of holes that it cannot be taken seriously," Posner wrote in his opinion.

“The kind of benefits and protections that are afforded to married people directly translate into benefits for those children,” Wetherall said. “Keeping children at the center and their health and wellbeing as the future – there’s a lot at stake here.”

If the cases are appealed, they will join the growing list of cases pending appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court.


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