Fighting for the right to get married

Gail Faustyn

 

The long flowing dress, the oversized and beautifully decorated cake, friends and family gathering to watch as their loved ones walk confidently down the aisle. The couple gazes into each other’s eyes, immediately feeling home, reassuring one another with vows. This is day that should be stress-free and irreplaceable.

However for same-sex couples, depending on where they say “I do,” things could begin to get complicated.

As it stands currently, Indiana has only a few anti-discriminatory rules in place for the LGBTQ community, all of which mostly cater to the workplace environment. For example, a person cannot be fired from their job in some cities, like New Albany, for sexual orientation and gender identity. Though in other cities, like Fort Wayne, a person cannot be fired for sexual orientation but can be fired for their gender identity.

The state does not recognize marriages of same-sex couples, and they cannot receive the same benefits, such as tax reductions and health care plans, that heterosexual married couples receive.

However, despite its conservative background, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled on Wednesday, Feb. 12 that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states where the same-sex unions are legal.

For Kentucky, this means that unless the judge’s order is reversed by a higher court, the state must allow those same-sex couples who have been married elsewhere the ability to change their names on personal identifications and receive the same benefits that heterosexual married couples receive.

While a great advancement for the LGBTQ community, same sex couples in the region have seemed to begin to graciously welcome the ruling by making plans to get married as soon as they could.

Alyssa Weber and Taylor Perry, a local same-sex Louisville couple, are planning their wedding for Oct. of 2015, and are very excited and optimistic about it.

The couple met nearly two-and-a-half years ago and have said they have been in love ever since.

They leave each other “love post-it” notes that say things like, “you’re beautiful” on them.

When spending time with Weber, each time we would pass by the restaurant Café 360 in Louisville she would say, “Taylor and I had our first date here, we sat right there, in those seats.” Looking over it with a longing gaze in her eyes.

They bring each other coffees, make each other breakfast, do each others’ laundry. Their behavior is no different than Mike and Carol Brady.

Weber and Perry plan on traveling 778 miles to New York, away from home, their first date spot and friends to legally become married.

“It’s a big hassle,” Perry said. “While traveling is exciting, it really sucks that in order to be legally married, we have to leave our home.”

Weber said she is also bothered by this, and said she is starting to realize how much the wedding is actually going to cost them.

“Weddings are already ridiculously expensive enough without having to plan a separate ceremony out of state to make it legal,” Weber said.

Perry said that she is very fortunate and has family members that are allowing the two to stay with them in New York while the two tie the knot.

“If we didn’t have that option we wouldn’t be able to do it,” Perry said. “We wouldn’t have been able to afford it.”

They have said that everyone they know has been very supportive of the wedding, while some at first were hesitant. They both said they feel very comfortable with one another’s families and friends. Perry said, however, that she has known a few people who have not been as lucky as they have been, and she said she feels terrible for them.

“Some people can’t be who they are because of fear, and to me that is more unfair,” Perry said.

They both have said that the simple act of recognizing a same-sex marriage was huge, and that society is moving positively in the way they look at the LGBTQ community.

“People are finally starting to see that we are no different than anyone else,” Perry said. “We love the same way.”

The couple begins to hold hands and look at one another.

“I was just saying to Taylor the other day how crazy this all is, we got engaged only three months ago,” Weber said. “We’re very lucky the law passed now, honestly it’s a great day and age to be gay.”

Perry said that while at her previous job she felt uncomfortable talking about her wedding, afraid to be treated differently, at her current job she feels very welcomed, working with someone who is directly connected to the Louisville Fairness Campaign.

The Fairness Campaign, based in Louisville, is a non-profit organization that works to fight discrimination for all people.

Laura Reece is the administrative coordinator for the Louisville Fairness Campaign. She, like Perry and Weber, agrees that the new reform that was passed was great. However, she said she still believes that there is a lot of discrimination that is going on, but it goes by unnoticed.

“In Kentucky we want to end state-wide discrimination,” Reece said. “Currently only six cities in Kentucky have legislation in place that bans employers and those in charge of housing to legally kick those even suspected of being part of the LGBTQ community out of public sectors.”

She said she wholeheartedly believes that everyone has the right to be married, however no one should have to be discriminated against.

“It’s going to be difficult, but we want to see bans placed to end discrimination state wide.” Reece said.

The couple remains optimistic, and give advice to other same-sex couples who want to get married.

“Go for it,” Weber said. “Don’t let anyone’s opinion sway you.”

Taylor said she agrees and the couple begin to look at one another and smile.

“Everyone deserves happiness,” Perry said.

For information on the Fairness campaign visit:

iushorizon.com/2013/10/fairness-campaign-fronts-activism-in-community/

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