With stay in place, couples' marriage plans on hold - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

With stay in place, couples' marriage plans on hold

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Lisa Duncan Lisa Duncan
Wanda Sexton Wanda Sexton
INDIANAPOLIS - The waiting continues for same-sex couples across Indiana as their marriage momentum is now on hold.

Newlyweds are unsure if their unions are still valid. Others are waiting to find out when and if they'll ever get the chance to marry.

This new uncertainty surrounding Indiana's stance on gay marriage comes after a decision last night by an appeals court. A stay was granted on a ruling that overturned Indiana's ban on gay marriage. The stay puts on hold wedding plans for couples who never thought in the first place same-sex marriage would be a reality in this state.

They could be any couple together for the past 18 years getting Saturday chores done around the house.

"It hasn't always been easy. We've had struggles like everybody else," said Lisa Duncan, sitting on the back deck with her partner Wanda.

Wanda and Lisa have considered themselves married for many years now and even held a commitment ceremony in 1996, exchanging rings and taking vows.

"That's what marriage is. You have to work at it every day," said Wanda of the good and bad times they've experienced together as a couple.

Where the State of Indiana is concerned, though, the question of same-sex marriage is still very much up in the air after a stay put in place Friday halting a judge's decision to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage.

"It's not what we wanted. I mean, we had everything set up for Monday morning," said Wanda.

That's when the couple planned to go to the Johnson County courthouse to apply for a marriage license and get married.

"Had it all planned and then the stay came through," Wanda added.

The couple's not surprised, but they are frustrated by what feels to them like discrimination by the state they grew up in because they're gay.

"Explain to me how my marriage affects you?" asked Lisa. "I mean, people get married every day and it doesn't affect me at all."

Lisa and Wanda said it comes down to wanting the same rights they see married heterosexual couples enjoying.

"God forbid something happens to one of us. We have to go through an attorney to get paper work drawn up to say that she can make medical decisions for me, or I can make medical decisions for her," said Wanda.

"All you have to do is say 'I do' and you're protected. We have to get attorneys. We have to file paper work," said Lisa.

For now, that's the way it will have to stay for these two. They're confident it's not going to be that way though, forever.

"It's going to happen. I think they're prolonging the inevitable," said Lisa.

The attorney general's office says it's premature to require Indiana to change its definition of marriage until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the issue as is widely expected.
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