ACLU of Indiana Challenges State Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Kelly Jones Sharp, ACLU of Indiana, 317-490-5310
Robyn Shepherd, ACLU national, 212-519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org

ACLU of Indiana Challenges State Ban on Marriage for Same-Sex Couples

INDIANAPOLIS - The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Indiana, and the Lemieux Law Office of Indianapolis filed a federal lawsuit yesterday on behalf of fifteen individuals, including a widow and two children, who have experienced harm and discrimination because of Indiana’s ban on marriage between same-sex couples and its ban on recognition of legal marriages between same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions.

One of the plaintiffs, Midori Fujii, is a widow whose legal wife, Kris Brittain, died in 2011 after a two-year struggle with ovarian cancer. After Brittain’s death, under Indiana law Fujii was a legal stranger and was not permitted to make decisions about the funeral. Because her California marriage is not recognized in Indiana, Fujii was also required to pay more than $300,000 in state inheritance tax on all of the property that her wife left to her, including their shared home. If Fujii had been in an opposite-sex marriage she would have paid no inheritance tax on the property.

“Marriage has long played a fundamental role in our society,” said Kenneth J. Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. “By failing to allow or recognize marriage between same-sex couples in Indiana, the state is perpetuating a discriminatory practice that cannot be squared with the Constitution.”

The other plaintiffs in the lawsuit are:

Melody Layne and Tara Betterman of Indianapolis;
Scott and Rodney Moubray-Carrico of New Albany;
Monica Wehrle and Harriet Miller of Allen County;
Gregory Hasty and Christopher Vallero of Hamilton County;
Rob MacPherson and Steven Stolen of Indianapolis

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The couples addressed the press at the time of filing at a press conference in Indianapolis.

”We are in the midst of an astounding point in history when Americans from coast to coast are realizing that all loving and committed couples deserve the freedom to marry,” said Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project. “The plaintiff couples and families and all same-sex couples in Indiana should have the same respect and security as any others.”

More information, including full bios of the plaintiffs, can be found at: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/midori-fujii-et-al-v-indiana-governor-et-al

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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