Hoosiers share thoughts on Supreme Court gay marriage ruling
As supporters of gay marriage celebrate a landmark ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court, conservatives are vowing to fight for the traditional definition of marriage.
The court ruling basically defers the question to states by saying that the federal government must recognize a same-sex couple as legally married - if it is legal in their state of residence.
Indiana lawmakers who have been pushing for the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman to be written into the state's constitution now say they intend to act.
Governor Mike Pence is supporting that measure that would place Indiana's ban on gay marriage in the state constitution.
Pence said Wednesday that voters should decide whether Indiana solidifies its ban with a vote in 2014. Legislative leaders said Wednesday they would push ahead with the effort after the Supreme Court handed down a pair of rulings leaving the marriage question with the states.
Pence said he continues to support defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.
If the ban passes the General Assembly next year, it would be placed on the Indiana ballot in 2014.
It remains to be seen if Hoosiers will vote in favor of a ban. On Wednesday, they were focused more on the Supreme Court's decision.
Gay marriage supporter Joe Everhart told Eyewitness News, "It's about time. This decision confirmed. We've been together 28 years. All our friends and family have been so supportive of us. This reflects what we've been used to and we think is really the common opinion of where things are that we're not second-class citizens. We should be able to do this. Hello, it's discrimination and we finally are able to really feel at peace."
Another supporter, Kathy Sarris, explained it from another perspective.
"It means I can go someplace and get married. It means that I can protect, at least from a federal level, I can protect the assets that my partner and I have been building over the last 33 years. I mean, in terms of it being a demonstration of commitment and love, I think 33 years has already done that, but being able to protect those assets is critical. We've seen over and over again what happens when a partner dies and the inheritance tax is suddenly put into place because they're not related, they're not married, and half of the assets go. This is particularly important to women in our community," she said.
The Indiana Family Institute has campaigned in favor of amending the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman - which would amount to a ban on gay marriage in Indiana.
Curt Smith with the Indiana Family Institute says their fight is not over.
"I'm feeling good. I don't want to minimize that they struck down DOMA. I think Congress should be allowed to set marriage policy for the government and I think that was sound public policy. But at the same time, this has not ended the debate. The debate will continue. We're looking forward to having the conversation here in Indiana. We believe voters in Indiana, when they understand the issue, will affirm marriage is one man and one woman," he said.