Target: Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals (Seventh Circuit), Diane Wood
Goal: Commend lawmakers for upholding the right to marry for one same-sex couple, and urge them to support extension of equal rights to all residents of Indiana and beyond
The state of Indiana has recently seen turmoil with regards to laws banning same-sex marriages. As of June 26, 2014 a federal judged ruled that the recent ban on same-sex marriages in the state of Indiana was unconstitutional. Many couples in Indiana immediately raced to the Marion County Clerk’s office in Indianapolis to celebrate and to say their vows.
However a federal appeals court promptly called for an emergency stay, meaning that same-sex couples who married prior to the stay may not be entitled to their newly-found (and somewhat limited) rights while the courts battle out the appeal.
Even if the appeal is upheld and the ban on same-sex marriage is overturned, gay couples in Indiana may not enjoy equal rights. USA Today reports on several areas where discrimination against same-sex couples continues in Indiana. Health insurance providers, for example, may choose to cover spouses but they have the right to refuse to provide coverage for same-sex partners. Tax rules, civil and social liberties related to hospital visitation rights, death certificates and adoptions are also subject to the interpretation of local and state rulings.
A beacon of hope in this tumultuous story is the recognition of the same-sex marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who is fighting a life-threatening battle with ovarian cancer. On July 1, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the state must recognize the marriage of this couple, regardless of the stay.
Join the fight for equal rights for all Americans and applaud Chief Judge Wood for the recognition of this union. Urge Indiana lawmakers to fight to keep the ban on same-sex marriage overturned.
Dear Justice Wood,
The state of Indiana is in turmoil with respect to same-sex marriage and equal rights for all people who reside there. With the recently overturned ban on same-sex marriage, followed by the stay limiting new couples from getting married, many individuals in Indiana are hurting. What’s more even if the overturned ban is ultimately ruled unconstitutional gay couples in Indiana may not enjoy the same rights as others, and may instead still be subjected to limited tax benefits and limitations on various civil and social liberties.
I applaud your judgment in the case brought to the courts by Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who were able to protect their right to remain married. I urge you to use your influence and character to explain to others why it is so important that equal rights in marriage and civil liberties be extended to all individuals in Indiana, without discrimination.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tom Morris via Wikimedia Commons