Ruling has important legal ramifications for same-sex couples - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Ruling has important legal ramifications for same-sex couples

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Melody Layne Melody Layne
Tara Betterman Tara Betterman
HAMILTON COUNTY -

Indiana's same-sex ruling has legal ramifications for the hundreds getting married, but it doesn't end there. Same-sex couples who went to other states to get their license before Wednesday's ruling are also celebrating.

Tara Betterman was back in her office Thursday. Nothing had changed and yet everything had.

"It was nice to wake up in our state and say, 'Good morning, wife,'" she said.

Even though Tara and Melody Layne married in New York two years ago, it was first time their marriage was recognized in Indiana

"We're a family just like everyone else and want to be recognized as such," said Betterman.

It's why Tara and Melody joined the ACLU lawsuit - so they and their five-year-old daughter would be recognized and protected.

"Pension plans, health insurance those sorts of things, we'll never have to worry about that again," said Betterman.

The couple now shares the same rights and benefits afforded opposite sex couples.

"I'm glad we filed an extension on our tax returns. Instead of paying for five, we'll have to pay for just two this year - one joint federal and one joint state," she explained.

But not everything changed overnight. Even though Melody works for a company that provides benefits for same-sex couples, they didn't want her doing the interview inside their building, and they didn't want us naming the company so we talked to Melody in the parking lot about the importance of the ruling.

"It's safe to die now. If something happens to either one of us, we know the other one's gonna be protected," she said.

They can draw on social security benefits, automatically inherit property without a will and overseeing the other's funeral arrangements.

Once Tara officially adopts Melody's daughter, they will be legally recognized as joint parents, with the same rights. But in some ways they're still holding their breath.

"You have this cloud looming above you wondering is the stay gonna be issued and if it does, what's gonna happen in the appeals court?" said Betterman.

"They can stop performing new ceremonies, but I don't know if they can take rights away from the couples who already have them. It seems pretty cruel," said Layne.

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