East Central Indiana takes a day reacting to landmark same sex ruling

Federal court order throws out same sex marriage ban, same sex marriage begins

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS)  Julia Corbett Hemeyer has performed commitment ceremonies for same sex couples in Delaware County.

 And she called the federal court ruling that throws out the ban on same sex marriage in Indiana a step in the right direction, awaiting that first ceremony where she can legally marry same sex partners.

The historic decision by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young that decided the same sex marriage ban violated equal protection under federal law has county clerks answering phones, scrambling for answers and even issuing marriage applications to couples.

Marion County Clerk Beth White, who is the Democratic candidate for Indiana Secretary of State, married the first same sex couple, Jake Miller and Craig Bowen, as dozens flocked to that office for applications and marriage ceremonies.

 Clerks in Hamilton, Monroe and Allen counties also complied with Young's order immediate, but at the end of the day, Delaware and Madison counties were looking for legal advice or the court order that was on the federal court's website and media sites.

Shonna Smith, who handles licenses in the Delaware County's office, was still waiting on the court order Wednesday afternoon as Clerk Steve Craycraft talked with other customers.

 In Madison County, Clerk Darlene Lykins was waiting on legal advice from the state that continues to fight same sex marriage and hopes a federal appeals court will stay Young's order.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller had said he intended to appeal the ruling and immediate filed to stop in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Gov. Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers have continued to fight same sex marriage and the equal protection it provides for couples.

But Democratic leaders like Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, hailed the decision in favor of equal rights. Indiana became the 20th state Wednesday to recognize same sex marriage after the ban was found unconstitutional.

"I'm not surprised by this ruling because it is in accordance with a wave of decisions in other states dealing with the same statutes," said Lanane, Indiana Senate minority leader.

Lanane recalled how families came to the Statehouse for days this year to fight the constitutional amendment for the same sex marriage ban.

"This ruling lends credence to not taking further action on this issue," said Lanane. "Doing so would be an exercise in futility and a waste of our time."

Republican lawmakers like Sen. Doug Eckerty simply don't response to media about the same sex issue after repeatedly supporting the constitutional amendment.

Hemeyer, community minister at Unitarian Universalist Church, hoped same sex marriage would ultimately be legal in Indiana as many have made it clear that equal protection under the law outweigh fundamental Christian views.

George Wolfe, local human rights activist, also was glad to see the courts uphold equal protection, adding lawmakers should spend more time on the issues of hunger, poverty and climate change.