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

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.”


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  2. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.

  3. maybe if some of the socia workers would treat the foster parents better, they would continue to fostr.

  4. We have been asked to take in a 2 no old baby because mother is in very unstable situation. We want to do this but will need help with expenses such as medical and formula... Do we have to have custody thru court?

  5. Very troubling. A competent public defender is very much the right of every indigent person in the US or the Fifth amendment becomes meaningless. And considering more and more of us are becoming poorer and poorer under this "system," the need for this are greater than ever.... maybe they should study the Federals and see how they manage their program? And here's to thanking all the PD attorneys out there who do a good job.