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They Were Indiana's First Legal Same-Sex Married Couple. Now, They Wait

Miller, Bowen await federal appeals court hearing on legal status of their marriage

Jake Miller (left) and Craig Bowen after they were married on June 25 (image courtesy of Indianapolis Monthly)

The first same sex couple to be legally married in Indiana, when it was legal, is taking life one day at a time, even though the federal appeals court hearing on marriage could affect their lives permanently.
 
"Personally, it's been great," said Jake Miller of the last two months since he and Craig Bowen became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Indiana.  They were first in line at the Marion County Clerk's Office on June 25 after U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled that the state's law banning gay couples from getting married was unconstitutional. "Trying to get things sorted out, like health insurance, has been interesting with everything put on hold," Miller said.  Young's ruling was put on hold by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on June 27, and Governor Pence later announced that the state would not recognize as legal the hundreds of marriages that occurred during the two-day window.
 
The 7th Circuit hears Indiana's appeal of Young's ruling today, and while he admits it is potentially a landmark in his and Bowen's life together, "quite honestly, we are just going through the paces with everyone else, letting the court system do it's thing," Miller said. "I am not incredibly concerned, to be quite honest.  I am just being patient and letting the government and political system do what it's supposed to do."  
 

What it is supposed to do, Miller believes, is find what many other federal courts have found, that the government cannot legally bar same-sex couples from the same marriage rights held by opposite sex couples.   The appeal before the 7th Circuit combines cases from Indiana and Wisconsin, but similar hearings have already been heard by federal appeals court in other parts of the country.  There is a chance the U.S. Supreme Court could accept another marriage case before the 7th Circuit rules on this one.  "My confidence is pretty high that, in the end, this will all turn out in favor of equality," Miller said.

 
 

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