INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers Unite for Marriage, a bipartisan public education campaign dedicated to lifting the voices of loving and committed couples in support of the freedom to marry, launched today.
In partnership with Liberty Indiana, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Freedom to Marry, Hoosiers Unite for Marriage will build on the conversations that are happening across Indiana — from the legislature to the media, and at dinner tables throughout the state — to talk about what freedom and equality really mean for gay and lesbian couples.
"This is a critical time," said Kyle Megrath, Marriage Coordinator for Hoosiers Unite for Marriage. "Like never before, Hoosiers are talking about what marriage means — and are rapidly coming to the conclusion that it is wrong to exclude same-sex couples from marriage just because of who they are. Hoosiers Unite for Marriage will focus on continuing this important conversation in communities across our state to change hearts and minds and continue to build support for the freedom to marry for all Hoosiers."
Five federal lawsuits are currently pending seeking the freedom to marry or to recognize out-of-state marriages in Indiana. In one of the lawsuits, Baskin v. Bogan, a federal judge ruled on April 10, 2014 that the State of Indiana must respect the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, a same-sex couple from Munster, Indiana. In 2009, Niki was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is terminally ill. They brought the suit to ensure that upon Niki's death, Amy and their children would receive the same protections as every other married couple in the state. Their story and others illustrate the immediate need for the Hoosier State to extend the freedom to marry — and the responsibilities and protections that come with marriage — to gay and lesbian couples.
"Not having your marriage recognized in the state you live in and call home hurts," said Karen & Tammy Vaughn-Kajmowicz, "That's why we are proud to be part of the group of plaintiffs fighting for a better future. A future in which our children don't have to grow up questioning why their family is treated differently. A future in which loving and committed couples don't have to travel across state lines to be married, just to come home and be treated like strangers. A future in which we can say we're married, and not feel like we're lying."
Coalition partner statements:
Evan Wolfson, President of Freedom to Marry:
"From dinner tables to church pews, from the State Capitol to Main Street, Hoosiers are talking about why marriage matters, and joining the majority of Americans who have come to understand that it's time to end marriage discrimination. Freedom to Marry was a key partner of Freedom Indiana as we worked to block HJR-3, and we're working now with Hoosiers Unites for Marriage to continue the statewide conversation about treating all Indiana families fairly and equally. With 20 consecutive court rulings against marriage discrimination, and none going the other way, our country is proving every day that all American families deserve freedom and fairness — and that includes Indiana's loving and committed same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry."
Jane Henegar, Executive Director of the ACLU of Indiana:
"Since 1971, when the ACLU litigated its first marriage lawsuit for same-sex couples, we have been at the forefront of both legal and public education efforts on this important civil rights issue. The ACLU of Indiana helped lead the historic effort to defeat HJR-3, and we are proud to be part of Hoosiers Unite for Marriage to secure dignity and equality for loving couples across our state."
Chris Paulsen, Board Member, Liberty Indiana:
"Liberty Indiana is proud to join the coalition that has formed Hoosiers Unite for Marriage. We look forward to having conversations with Hoosiers who are interested in bringing marriage equality to Indiana. We also look forward to helping educate Hoosiers about the benefits of Same Sex Marriage for the State and all its citizens."