Health-care fears loom large in gay marriage cases

Supporters of gay marriage gather for a rally at City Market Plaza before going to Chicago for appeals hearing.
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The rights of same-sex couples during medical emergencies will loom large when a federal appeals court considers a case targeting gay-marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the combined case Tuesday.

Couples involved in the lawsuits say powers of attorney and domestic partner registries don't guarantee they'll be allowed to make critical medical decisions for each other. They say only a marriage certificate provides that guarantee.

The states' bans were overturned in June, but the rulings have been put on hold.

Lambda Legal attorney Paul Castillo says the national gay rights group will highlight during the hearing the "assortment of harms" gay couples face under the bans, including the fear of not being able to make emergency medical decisions for their partners.

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