On Wednesday, a federal judge in Indiana struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Instantly, couples from across the Hoosier State rushed to their county clerks’ offices to apply for marriage licenses they had previously been constitutionally-barred from getting. Not all clerks agreed to grant the certificates. Not all of them could. But the Clark County clerk’s office did grant licenses.
The office had a crowd of couples Thursday morning, but by noon, it slowed down. Ten minutes before the clerk’s office re-opened for lunch, no one waiting was there to get married.
Then Ladonna showed up. She and her partner got married earlier that day, but they were given a marriage license meant for the couple before them—two men. She was there to pick up the right paperwork, giving a bureaucratic edge to a day she wasn’t expecting to come.
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“[My partner and I] were on our way back from Michigan, picking up some belongings. We saw it on Facebook when we first saw it and we were like ‘No. Not really.’ Then our friends started calling and texting. We could not get back here quick enough,” she says.
“I came out in 2000 and I’ve though since well before then it should be legal for everybody.”
Did you think it would ever happen?
“No. Not here.”
What was the feeling like driving down?
“People were passing us and we were all smiles. They probably thought we were crazy. It was that cold chill effect, then it started to set in. This is real. It’s still unbelievable. It’s like that favorite gift you want at Christmas when you open the box and there it is.
“We have the wrong license, but it’s OK. It’s just a matter of getting another paper printed up.”
How does it feel knowing this may go back and forth on appeal?
“It’s on paper already and it has to be honored. We’re having an official wedding in September, but we have this now. When you go to your employer, you can say, ‘I’m married.’ You can say ‘I need to put my spouse on that insurance. I am married. I am legal.’
“If something were to happen to me, to our children, we’re covered. Those are the things we were lacking. It’s not about ‘Let us get married, we’re gay.’ It’s about the importance of other parts of life. If I’m in a car wreck, who makes those decisions for me? My partner would’ve been shut out, where now my wife has that option. It makes a big difference, it does.
“I wish it wouldn’t go back and forth. We know it will, but I’m covered.”
‘We Couldn’t Wait’
For Allen Davis and Virgil Parker, it wasn’t as long as wait—but they did face the not-so-obvious (or fun) bureaucracy of getting a marriage license. They met online and have been together for four years. They figured they would be able to get married someday.
But not today, and not in Indiana.
“We actually had a commitment ceremony in October of this last year. He proposed a year after we got together, so for the last two years we’ve wanted to,” says Davis.
“I grew up here my whole life. There’s no way I thought Indiana would be ahead of many other states.
“But I think its just going to become more and more like this. It’s not becoming a person issue now. It’s becoming a government issue. It’s becoming more of tax issues and every things. It’s just government wants to do what ever is easiest. I think your continue to see it spread so quickly.”
How did it feel when you found out it was legal here?
“Super exciting,” says Davis.
“We were actually in Florida,” adds Parker.
“We were on vacation in Florida. And our phones are blowing up. So we couldn’t wait. We landed at noon, got back today and drove over here.”
How does it feel knowing it’s possible that there could be an appeal?
“We haven’t really thought a lot about it to be honest,” says Davis. “I mean its the same thing when we had a big commitment ceremony, about 200 of our friends and family. You really do it because you love each other, you know?
“Whatever happens, happens. But they can’t take away this day we got. This moment to fill this out. We got to do a lot of things other people—straight couples—got to do.”