“All of these couples that we represent are like any other opposite-sex couples in the state of Indiana,” he said. “They live as married couples. They raise their kids together. They work and go to church in Indiana. They pay their taxes in the state of Indiana.”
Canon said that the U.S. Supreme Court, through United States v. Windsor, ruled last year that it is unconstitutional to treat homosexual partnerships differently than heterosexual couples.
“We are asking the Indiana federal court to recognize what every other court in the country has recognized [since U.S. vs. Windsor].” Canon said. “At this point, I think, it is fairly clear that the people of Indiana can not depend on the legislature to do what is right, to protect their civil liberties and their constitutional rights, so we have turned to the federal courts.”
Clients Jo Ann Dale and Carol Uebelhoer, Otisco, were wed in Massachusetts five years ago and have been together for 35 years.
If the lawsuit results in equal rights for all Hoosiers, Dale hopes routine tasks, such as filling out forms, will no longer be such a strange experience.
Dale said she and Uebelhoer fill out a joint form when doing federal taxes, but separate forms for state taxes.
Lane Stumler and Michael Drury, New Albany, the only male couple among the plaintiffs, have been together for nearly 10 years and are seeking the right be wed in Indiana.
Stumler, 66, said he is now motivated to stand up for his rights after seeing gay rights openly discussed each day in the media debating “my worth as a human being or trying to decide (if) the DNA I was born disqualifies me from being equal to everyone else.”
Drury said public opinion has evolved to be more accepting of same-sex couples, and he is ready for Indiana leaders to catch up.