JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Since Wednesday, Clark County Clerk Barbara Haas has been inquiring of same sex couples, what Indiana law has always required of a man and a woman.
"Are you closer than second cousins?" Haas asked Jane Hamon and Marti Williams Thursday. "No," they answered, laughing.
Hamon and Williams, both of Louisville, Kentucky have been together 16 years. The question of when to make their commitment legal, has always mattered more than the where.
"I just told my sister - she lives in Arizona," Hamon said. "She dropped the phone."
"We're gonna try to get it recognized with everybody else," Williams said. "It does concern us yes, but there isn't anything we can do about that."
Except wait. Kentucky has outlawed same-sex marriages and doesn't recognize such unions performed in other states. A federal court ruling requiring the latter is on appeal.
But as of Wednesday, Indiana is open for business unless an appeal is successful.
Such uncertainty explains why several County Attorneys urged their respective clerks to hold off granting licenses.
Harrison County Clerk Sally Whitis had no guidance how to reconcile Indiana's online application form, which lists marriage partners strictly as male-female. Shortly after noon, County Attorney Chris Byrd advised she follow the others' lead.
"You have to print out the form for them to sign," she explained. "Either they're writing in FE"' in front of the word ‘male' or striking the ‘FE' in ‘female.'"
Improvisation, until Indiana achieves standardization. But will it be gender-neutral? Or will Indiana issue three forms: male-female, female-female, male-male?
"I don't know whether they'll go to that length," Whitis said. "I don't know what other option there is to fix it."
That dilemma is key to Indiana's appeal of a federal court ruling that declares Indiana's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
"Until the United States Supreme Court determines that traditional marriage laws such as Indiana's are unconstitutional," Attorney General Greg Zoeller writes, "it is premature to require Indiana to change its definition of marriage and abide by the Court's conception of marriage."
Hamon and Williams plan to re-marry in a Kentucky church, once the Commonwealth resolves the legal challenges to its own ban on same-sex marriage.
But the clock is ticking; Indiana law requires they wed in the county that issued their license, within 30 days.
"Got any judges around here somewhere?" Williams asked.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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