Indiana same-sex marriage proponents celebrate Supreme Court decision
Kelly Dooley says it doesn’t take much for him and his friends to celebrate.
But on Monday night, Dooley raised his glass for a toast at a restaurant in Crown Point, Indiana.
Dooley and about a dozen friends celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s inaction, which nullifies Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Although Dooley got married eight years ago in Canada, his marriage to his husband Matthew wasn’t recognize by Indiana -- until now.
“This is a great day. We’re very, very happy here with this group,” Dooley said.
Dooley’s friend Jacqueline Castro joined the celebration.
“(I) Never saw it coming,” Castro said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen, no. Not in Indiana.”
Castro’s been with her partner Nancy for 20 some years. She married in late June when a federal judge initially nixed Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban.
That ruling was appealed by the State of Indiana. Her marriage, and that of hundreds of other same-sex couples, was put on hold.
That hold was dropped once the U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear Indiana’s case and similar ones filed by Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia.
This makes same-sex marriage legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
Castro says the ruling brings a sense of security for her and her wife.
“Now, no matter what happens to me, my partner will be secure in her future and vise-versa. It’s no different than anybody else,” Castro said.
But not everyone is celebrating the decision.
Just up the street at a coffee shop, Kent Lane says he can’t and won’t support gay marriage.
“I don’t like it. Not at all,” said Lane, who lives in the the town of Remington, about 20 miles south of Crown Point. “It just should be between a man and a woman. It’s wrong in the Bible. It’s wrong, period. Like they said way back, It was Adam and Eve, it wasn’t Adam and Steve.”
Lane isn’t alone.
Dr. Ron Johnson Jr. is a local minister and head of the Indiana Pastors Alliance.
“I think what this is a sign of is the deep moral darkness that our nation is in right now that we can’t figure out something as something as commonsensical as the fact that marriage should be between a man and woman who can have children,” Dr. Johnson said.
Dr. Johnson is also miffed that the court nullified the will of most Hoosiers who supported the state’s definition of marriage.
“I just get deeply concerned when we have judges who think they know better than the millions of Hoosiers who already weighed in a situation or who should be given the opportunity to weigh in on a situation,” Johnson said.
Although he doesn’t support the ruling, Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mike Pence says he will respect it.
Pence urges Indiana residents to continue to demonstrate civility and "respect the beliefs of all people in our state."
But Indiana Senate Pro Tem David Long, a Republican from Fort Wayne, was shocked by the Supreme Court’s inaction.
“It is surprising, given the importance of this issue to our society, that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to take up this matter, but instead to rely upon lower court rulings,” Long said. “That being said, the Court appears to have sent a message that if they ultimately do hear these cases, they will support these lower court rulings, and find that same-sex marriage is on equal footing with traditional marriage.”
Long added an effort to write a same-sex marriage ban into the Indiana’s constitution is also over after several years of trying.
“The effort to amend the Indiana Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman would appear to be over unless the U.S. Supreme Court reverses its decision and ultimately takes up the matter in the future to overturn the current decision by the 7th Circuit concerning Indiana law,” Long said. “Given today’s ruling, that appears unlikely.”
Kelly Dooley knows not everyone will be happy with the ruling, but says Indiana has already come a long way in terms of accepting same-sex marriage.
“(Attitudes) are not going to flip over night and it’s going to be a long time,” Dooley said. “But I said it once before and say it again: Had I ever been asked 20 years ago that this would be like this, I could have said no.”
County clerk offices through Indiana are gearing up for what could be a busy day on Tuesday.
There is no waiting period as judges can perform marriage ceremonies today.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Michael Puente is WBEZ’s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter. Following him on Twitter @MikePuenteNews.