Gay councilman's wedding ceremony brings local leaders together
It's another sign of the changing views on gay marriage in Indiana. The city's first openly gay city county council member legally wed his partner two weeks ago, and last weekend, they repeated their vows during a ceremony in Indianapolis that drew several prominent politicians from both political parties.
Democratic councilor Zach Adamson now wears a wedding band along with a wristband promoting marriage equality.
On October 19th, Adamson married his long-time partner Christian Mosburg in Washington, DC, where same-sex marriage is legal. Last Saturday they two walked the aisle again during a multi-faith ceremony at Life Journey Church on the city's north side.
Among the attendees were Republican Mayor Greg Ballard and wife Winnie.
While Adamson and the mayor have sparred over issues, Adamson described the mayor as "unwavering" in his support of equality issues.
"I know he takes a lot of heat for it considering his party, so it did mean a lot for him to be there," Adamson said.
Mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter said the mayor had no qualms about attending the ceremony.
"The mayor was happy to be invited and happy to attend," Lotter said. "It was a great day for Councilor Adamson and his husband and he was happy to celebrate with them."
Besides the mayor, a dozen other elected officials attended. They included Sheriff Bob Layton, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, Council Minority Leader Michael McQuillen as well as a handful of other Democratic and Republican councilors and several state representatives.
"Sometimes change comes slowly, but we're seeing change come quickly here. It means people understand that families come in all forms. It's not one-size fits all," said IU School of Law Professor Jennifer Drobac.
And unlike as recently as five years ago, she said there's a lot less concern about the political implications.
"In my view, the political risk is in not recognizing devoted families," she said. "But it's also who cares (about gay marriage)? It's about time and that's a good thing."
While the ceremony followed a traditional format, vows and all, it began with a reminder from Rick Sutton, who heads Indiana Equality.
He told those gathered, "Although we have full confidence that God recognizes this marriage, unfortunately, Indiana does not."
Sutton urged attendees to speak out against a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana.
Though the mayor and Adamson are on different sides on a number of issues, they agree a constitutional ban on gay marriage would hurt the city's image and as Adamson says, "the ability to attract the best and brightest to the city."
They also worry the marriage amendment would undo a new ordinance granting health and other benefits to same-sex partners. The policy begins with open enrollment next month and benefits available starting in January.
"It is something we're concerned about and city legal is looking into what the implications would be. We do not want to do anything that would make our city seem like it's not a welcoming place for all people to come visit, live and work here," said Lotter.
While Adamson and Mosburg's marriage is not recognized in Indiana, it is in 14 other states and Washington, DC.
Adamson is one of four councilors who will introduce a resolution at the next council meeting opposing a constitutional ban on gay marriage.