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Plaintiffs say they joined same-sex marriage lawsuit because ‘We wanted to be married’

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Although oral arguments in the Indiana same-sex marriage lawsuits will not be heard until late August, plaintiffs in one of the cases are hoping the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals acts quickly so their challenge can be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Lambda Legal and some of the plaintiffs the organization represents in Baskin, et al. v. Bogan, et al., 1:14-cv-0355, spoke at a special forum on marriage equality Thursday evening in Indianapolis. Attorneys recapped the status of same-sex marriage lawsuits across the country and answered questions during the 90-minute event at the Indiana Landmarks Center.

An estimated 160 individuals attended.

In June, a federal court judge issued a ruling in Baskin and two other same-sex marriage complaints that Indiana’s statute defining marriage as only between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. Those three cases are now awaiting a hearing by the 7th Circuit.

The state appealed and the 7th Circuit had originally scheduled oral arguments for Aug. 13. However, that date was vacated after the Indiana Attorney General’s Office filed a motion asking the appellate court to hear the appeal en banc.

According to the court’s docket, the arguments have been rescheduled for Aug. 26. The motion to hear the cases en banc was denied.

“We want this case to go before the 7th Circuit sooner because we ultimately believe that the decision will rest with the United States Supreme Court,” said Paul Castillo, attorney for Lambda Legal. “We know that there are cases all across the country that are moving forward and we are eager to present our strong arguments as soon as possible.”

During the event, the lead plaintiffs in the Lambda Legal case, Marilyn Rae Baskin and Esther Fuller, were recognized with a loud applause from the audience.

At the conclusion of the event, Baskin explained their reasons for being part of the lawsuit.

“We wanted to be married,” she said. “Just like any other couple who’s been together and has a relationship, our relationship has value. We should be able to be married like every other family and enjoy the protections, enjoy the validity.”

Baskin and Fuller have been together for 24 years and live in Johnson County. After the Supreme Court of the United States knocked down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in the 2012 Windsor ruling, the couple contacted Lambda Legal to find out what their rights would be if they were to get married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions.

Lambda Legal eventually asked Baskin and Fuller if they wanted to join the fight against Indiana’s marriage law.

Fuller said the couple had concerns but decided to sign on to the lawsuit.  

“Somebody has to do it,” Fuller said. “It’s like somebody has to say I’m not going to move to the back of the bus, thank you very much.”   

The 7th Circuit did consolidate the three same-sex marriage cases from Indiana with one case from Wisconsin. All the plaintiffs from the Indiana lawsuits will file a single brief with the appellate court July 29. About a week later, all the organizations and individuals supporting the Indiana same-sex couples are expected to file amicus briefs with the court.

The families in Baskin are joining the families in Midori Fujii, et al. v. Indiana Governor, et al., 1:14-cv-00404, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, and Lee, et al. v. Pence, et al., 1:14-cv-00406, filed by a legal team led by Karen Celestino-Horseman, William Groth, Mark Sniderman and Kathleen Sweeney.  

“While the different cases describe unique harms of their own individual plaintiffs, the legal arguments are the same across the three cases,” Castillo said. “So what I see in this brief is we’re speaking with one unique voice on behalf of the citizens of the state of Indiana who support the freedom to marry.”
 

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  1. Bob Leonard killed two people named Jennifer and Dion Longworth. There were no Smiths involved.

  2. Being on this journey from the beginning has convinced me the justice system really doesn't care about the welfare of the child. The trial court judge knew the child belonged with the mother. The father having total disregard for the rules of the court. Not only did this cost the mother and child valuable time together but thousands in legal fees. When the child was with the father the mother paid her child support. When the child was finally with the right parent somehow the father got away without having to pay one penny of child support. He had to be in control. Since he withheld all information regarding the child's welfare he put her in harms way. Mother took the child to the doctor when she got sick and was totally embarrassed she knew nothing regarding the medical information especially the allergies, The mother texted the father (from the doctors office) and he replied call his attorney. To me this doesn't seem like a concerned father. Seeing the child upset when she had to go back to the father. What upset me the most was finding out the child sleeps with him. Sometimes in the nude. Maybe I don't understand all the rules of the law but I thought this was also morally wrong. A concerned parent would allow the child to finish the school year. Say goodbye to her friends. It saddens me to know the child will not have contact with the sisters, aunts, uncles and the 87 year old grandfather. He didn't allow it before. Only the mother is allowed to talk to the child. I don't think now will be any different. I hope the decision the courts made would've been the same one if this was a member of their family. Someday this child will end up in therapy if allowed to remain with the father.

  3. Ok attorney Straw ... if that be a good idea ... And I am not saying it is ... but if it were ... would that be ripe prior to her suffering an embarrassing remand from the Seventh? Seems more than a tad premature here soldier. One putting on the armor should not boast liked one taking it off.

  4. The judge thinks that she is so cute to deny jurisdiction, but without jurisdiction, she loses her immunity. She did not give me any due process hearing or any discovery, like the Middlesex case provided for that lawyer. Because she has refused to protect me and she has no immunity because she rejected jurisdiction, I am now suing her in her district.

  5. Sam Bradbury was never a resident of Lafayette he lived in rural Tippecanoe County, Thats an error.

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