Showing posts with label Indiana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Indiana. Show all posts

December 8, 2018

VP Pence's State of Indiana School's Being Sued for Not Allowing The Students To Use Gay Related language(LGBT,Gay,etc)


Fort Wayne LGBT Advocates Respond To ACLU Lawsuit
Rebecca Green/WBOI
The Indiana ACLU sued East Allen County Schools last week, after allegations Leo Jr./Sr. High School administrators restricted students’ use of LGBT language, among other issues. LGBT activists in the Fort Wayne Area say the language used to describe the club mattered.  
The lawsuit filed by the ACLU stated school administrators did not allow students to refer to the club as as 'GSA,' or Gay-Straight Alliance, but rather as Leo Pride, which is a school acronym that stands for, 'Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diligence, and Excellence.'
Executive Director of Fort Wayne Pride, Nikki Fultz said while the word 'pride' is often associated with LGBT identity, the decision on what a club like Leo’s calls itself should be left up to students.
"I think words mean quite a bit," Fultz said, "So to say that you can’t say those words, in trying to let students know what’s happening, is a way to make students feel ashamed of who they are."
Fultz said GSA’s have become prevalent in the last few years, creating a sense of inclusivity for those involved in the groups, especially LGBT youths, who are at a higher risk to attempt suicide.
No hearing has been set for the injunction.

June 13, 2017

Indiana Trying to Keep Gay Couples from Getting BirthCertificates as Parents

Nicole Singley and her wife Jennifer had been married for more than a year when their son was born in Indiana in 2015. Jennifer had carried the boy, conceived through artificial insemination, and Nicole was there to cut the umbilical cord.

But the next day, while holding their son in the hospital, they were told that only Jennifer’s name would appear on the baby’s birth certificate.

Two years later, the couple is expecting another child, this time a daughter carried by Nicole, and they are still pushing the state to allow both members of married gay couples to be listed on birth certificates the day their baby is born. The course the state recommends in cases like these: adoption.

In other states, the law has been on the Singles’ side. State “presumption of parentage” laws, which allow hospitals to list a woman’s husband as the father of her child on a birth certificate — even if paternity hasn’t been medically established — have largely been extended to married lesbian couples after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Many states did so voluntarily, while courts settled the issue in others, including Florida and South Carolina.

More: What Pride looks like in all 50 states

Now, just Arkansas and Indiana are still grappling with lawsuits that contend they treat married lesbian couples differently when it comes to birth certificates. 
Lesbian couples involved in the suits say both names are needed on a birth certificate so that either parent can fulfill obligations like enrolling kids in school or making medical decisions for their child. But for Nicole, the worries run deeper. As a member of the Army who served a year in Iraq, she’s worried her military benefits might not be extended to her children equally.

“They’ll be raised in the same household by the same parents,” Nicole said. “But if something were to happen and my marital relationship to Jen would end, through my death or her death, Huck has no legal relationship with me.”

Because birth certificates nearly always document the birth mother, gay male couples often have to take legal steps to terminate her parental rights before both their names can be listed on an amended birth certificate. But lesbians who deliver their own baby say their situation should fall within the existing legal framework.

Indiana does not have a presumption of parentage law entitling husbands of birth mothers to be listed on the birth certificate. Instead, the form mothers fill out often asks if her husband is also the father before he is added to the birth certificate. But the plaintiffs in the case brought by the Singleys and others say a woman who decides with her husband to conceive through artificial insemination would naturally consider her spouse to be the father, and hospital staff doesn't question that response. The same logic should apply to same-sex couples, they say.
Across the U.S. thousands rally for LGBTQ rights
Arkansas law requires a woman’s husband to be listed as the father on a birth certificate unless another man’s paternity is established in court. But the state’s Supreme Court recently struck down a lower court decision that would have extended that law to same-sex spouses, arguing the Obergefell decision does not apply to state birth certificate laws. That case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both states contend that accuracy is necessary for an initial birth certificate, and a brief from the state of Arkansas says listing the biological parents is in the best interest of the child, who may later have questions about their medical history. Lawyers for Arkansas said the plaintiffs should challenge the state’s artificial insemination law, which they concede is not inclusive of gay couples. That law says the husband of a woman who conceives through artificial insemination should be considered the “legitimate natural” father of the child. However, the plaintiffs’ lawyer said that law is irrelevant because it does not address birth certificates.

All About Biology

Without firmly established parental rights, biology could dictate much of the future for the Singleys’ children. If either Nicole or Jennifer died, their parents could seek custody of their biological grandchild without concern for the role of the remaining spouse.

When Huck’s birth certificate arrived, it came with a pink slip that read “Indiana law requires that a child born out-of-wedlock be recorded under the name of the mother,” and listed the ways a father can be added to the birth certificate.

In cases where one of the parents isn’t biologically related to the child, Indiana recommends adoption to ensure parental rights. But the Singleys don’t want to do that.

“We tried this for almost two years before we got pregnant. We’ve spent over $33,000 already just to have this child, and the state says we should spend another $7,000 to adopt our own child after we’ve made all this effort?” Nicole said, citing the amount lawyers quoted the couple to complete the adoption.

They find the idea that a social worker would come into their home and decide whether they get to be parents unsettling, and Nicole says no heterosexual couple that uses artificial insemination is subjected to this process.

More: 2016 was the deadliest year on record for the LGBTQ community

A U.S. district judge initially sided with the Singleys and other lesbian couples suing the state, ruling last year that gay couples were being treated differently than heterosexual couples and ordering the spouses’ names added to their children’s birth certificates.

But the state challenged that decision in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing in a brief that it cannot “confer parental rights based on emotional connections.”

The state argues that, regardless of the birth mother’s sexuality, she is obligated to tell hospital staff who the father is. It also contends that while biological parents, even sperm donors, have legal parental rights, adoption is the only way the spouse of a biological parent can secure a legal connection to the child. Birth certificates don’t bestow legal rights, the state argues, they merely document parental rights that exist because of a biological connection to a child.

“If a biological mother’s spouse — whether man or woman — is not the biological father of her child but nonetheless wishes to be a legal parent, the spouse should use the mechanism the Indiana General Assembly has provided: adoption,” the state argued in its brief.

More: Being gay in Indianapolis was closely held secret; 'switchboard' provided answers

One of the couples suing Indiana argues that the state’s biology argument doesn’t address their situation.

Before Jackie Phillips-Stackman met her wife, she froze some of her embryos after an emergency hysterectomy. Years later, they were placed on her wife, Lisa, as the couple tried to have a child.

Now, Lisa is their daughter’s birth mother, and Jackie is the biological mother. But the state only considered Lisa to be the mother, leaving Jackie to fight to be listed on the birth certificate.

“By their logic, I should be listed on the birth certificate,” Jackie said. In court, the state recommended she file a paternity action, a legal move that would have meant removing her wife’s name from the birth certificate.

This is 'Obergefell'

Lesbian couples in Arkansas also won their first court battle to be listed on birth certificates, with a county court citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell as a reason to extend the state’s presumption of parentage laws to same-sex couples.

In Obergefell, the Supreme Court wrote gay couples were being denied the “constellation of benefits” associated with marriage and said states have regularly “made marriage the basis for an expanding list of governmental rights,” including birth certificates.

But the state appealed the county court decision, and in December the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned it, arguing Obergefell does not address state birth certificate laws. The opinion pointed to a passage in the decision that says “states are in general free to vary the benefits they confer on all married couples.”

More: Onslaught of anti-LGBT bills in 2017 has activists 'playing defense'

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, one of the lawyers for the Arkansas couples, said there’s no question Obergefell addressed state birth certificate laws.

“This is not an extension of Obergefell. These are the facts of Obergefell,” he said. “[For] many of the plaintiffs in Obergefell, especially the ones that were already married and looking for recognition of their marriage, the basis of their claims was the state was refusing to list both parents on their birth certificate.”

The Arkansas couples have appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has not yet decided whether to hear it.

But Hallward-Driemeier worries that even in states where people have understood the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling to have settled the birth certificate issue if the Arkansas decision stands, other states may change their policy.

The uncertainty was enough to push Jana Jacobs, a plaintiff in the suit, to formally adopt the two children she has with her wife Leigh. As the spouse of the birth mother, Jana said she will likely have to do the same “step-parent adoption” for the third baby they’re expecting this summer.

“I’m just trying to take responsibility for my kids,” she said. “I’m not their step parent. There was never anyone else in the picture. I’m their intended parent from birth through the rest of their life.”

Rebecca Beitsch, Pew/Stateline

April 1, 2015

Indiana Built on Sports gets No Cheers and Republicans Show Its Still the Old Party

Demonstrators gather outside the City County Building in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 30, 2015.

Aaron P. Bernstein—Getty ImagesDemonstrators gather outside the City County Building in Indianapolis, Indiana 

This week, sports fans will turn their eyes towards Indianapolis and what promises to be a memorable Final Four. Kentucky is going for a perfect season—for men’s college hoops, it would be the first in almost 40 years. Sharpshooting Wisconsin, led by All-American and possible national player of the year Frank “the Tank” Kaminsky, will try to end the Wildcats’ winning streak in one national semifinal. In the other semi, the biggest name in college basketball—Duke—faces off against Final Four regular Michigan State. This year’s event features star players (Kaminsky, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor) and brand-name coaches (Coach K, John Calipari, Tom Izzo). It’s a dream showcase for the NCAA.
Too bad all anyone can talk about is Indiana.
No, not the Hoosier hoops program: IU left the Big Dance long ago. Indiana—more specifically Indianapolis, the Final Four host city—is stealing the spotlight, thanks to controversial new legislation that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed last week. Critics of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) say the law gives businesses license to discriminate against LGBT residents, in the name of religious freedom. Indiana is the 20th state to pass a RFRA, but a) unlike some other states, Indiana does not specifically protect the LGBT population from discrimination elsewhere in the state code; b) Indiana is the only state to pass such a law in 2015, an era in which Americans have become much more accepting of gay people, and in which same-sex marriage could become the law of the land (15 states passed these laws between 1993 and 2009, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures) and c) Indiana is the only state to pass such a law just days before a mass American cultural tradition plays out in its largest, most important city.
Final Four hosts cities are like the refs. If they’re the topic of conversation, something must have gone terribly wrong.
 Indianapolis is in a particularly rough spot. Any economist will tell you that sports is usually an ineffective development tool. But if any city has successfully bet on sports to lift its fortunes, it’s Indy. Back in the 1960s, the most exciting things going on in its desolate downtown was the pigeon shooting—citizens would spray bullets on Sundays to control the population. “We were India-no-place,” Indy Mayor Greg Ballard tells TIME.
To revitalize “Naptown,” business and government leaders settled on a sports strategy: The city would try to lure teams and major international events. First, a downtown arena, home to the Indiana Pacers, opened in 1974. The Indiana Sports Corp. became the first non-profit commission in the U.S. dedicated to recruiting and managing sports events. The city built the Hoosier Dome—which helped attract the Colts from Baltimore in 1984—and invested in track and field, swimming and cycling facilities to host the 1982 National Sports Festival and 1987 Pan Am Games. The national governing bodies for track and field, swimming and gymnastics all settled in Indianapolis. Hotels and office buildings sprouted. In 1987, National Geographiccalled Indianapolis “The Cinderella of the Rustbelt.” The NCAA moved its headquarters to Indianapolis in 1999. The city has hosted more men’s Final Fours—six, including this one—over the past 25 years than any other in the country. The 2012 Super Bowl was a success. And overall, Indy’s compact downtown makes it an ideal setting for big-time events. 
“It’s fair to say that this city was built on sports,” says Chris Gahl, vice president of marketing & communications for Visit Indy, a promotional arm. So if sports leagues and teams start boycotting the city, because they don’t want to associate with what they see as a discriminatory law, they can tear it apart. “I certainly can’t endorse something that in principal is contrary to the value or our organization, and mine and my family’s personal values,” says USA Track and Field CEO Max Siegel, who is from Indianapolis. “As long as anti-gay legislation exists in any state, I strongly believe big events such as the Final Four and Super Bowl should not be held in those states’ cities,” Charles Barkley said in a statement
This year’s Final Four is projected to generate $70.8 million in direct visitor spending, according to Visit Indy. The 2010 Final Four, won by Duke, brought in $50 million. According to research firm Rockport Analytics, the 2012 Super Bowl contributed nearly $280 million to the local economy and supported nearly 4,700 jobs. An online petition calling on the Big Ten conference to move its championship football game, which contributed $16 million in direct visitor spending to Indianapolis in 2014, out of the city collected thousands of signatures.
The NCAA, which has some 500 employees at its Indy headquarters, took a notably strong stand against the law. “Anything that could potentially allow for discrimination and works in a way that is inconsistent with our values for inclusion is something we are very concerned about,” NCAA President Mark Emmert told ESPN on Monday. “We have to say, what do we do if this law goes into effect in July, and what’s our relationship with the state of Indiana going to be.” Pence has done the impossible: Won the NCAA widespread kudos.
This kind of talk has Ballard, the Indy mayor, very concerned. “This is very much a burgeoning convention setting, and sports event place,” says Ballard, who like the Governor is a Republican. “A lot of jobs depend on it, and the hospitality industry is huge here, just because of the sports and the convention business.” The NFL, for example, could move its annual scouting combine out of Indianapolis. “It’s very difficult for us right now,” says Ballard, who agrees that Pence’s timing was terrible. In an executive order released Monday, Ballard called on state lawmakers and the Governor to “expressly add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in state law.”
“They have to correct this, and they have to correct it quickly,” Ballard tells TIME. “They have to make it very, very clear that discrimination is not acceptable anywhere, and that services and facilities are open to everybody in the state of Indiana.” Without such action, Indiana might find itself out of the game.   

March 31, 2015

Tim Cook calls the Indiana Religious law “Dangerous”

Demonstrators gather in downtown Indianapolis Saturday to protest the controversial religious freedom law.(Reuters)

 — Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook toughed his criticism of Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law, calling it “very dangerous” and said Apple would opposite such legislation wherever it emerges. 
Similar legislation has been introduced in more than two dozen other states, including Arkansas and Georgia. Critics say the law could be used to sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians.
In addition to Apple AAPL, -0.07%  , several other business leaders, including Inc. CRM, +0.45%  CEO Marc Benioff, have publicly opposed the law. Eli Lilly & Co. LLY, +0.14%  , the largest publicly traded company in the state, said the law was “bad for Indiana and for business.”
“There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country,” Cook wrote in an opinion piece published in the Washington Post this weekend, after tweeting against the law on Friday. 
Bills similar to the Indiana law, which was signed into law on Thursday, and a measure being considered in Texas that would allow the state to strip salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year, will “rationalize injustice,” Cook said. 
“America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” he wrote. “I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.” 
Despite the backlash, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence continued to defend the law this weekend, and state Republicans planned a news conference at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time to clarify the law. 
State Democrats will take center stage at 10 a.m. to respond to calls for legislative action in response to the law, according to the Associated Press.

June 16, 2014

Indiana Seems to be next on gay marriage decision from Court of Appeals

                                                                Indiana Among States Fighting to Ban Gay Marriage
 A federal judge's lengthy deliberations on whether to stay his ruling recognizing a same-sex Indiana couple's marriage could signal that a broader decision is coming, legal experts say.
The state asked U.S. District Judge Richard Young for the stay on May 8, the same day he granted a preliminary injunction requiring Indiana to recognize the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney.
The state also is asking the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review Young's decision, which applies just to the one couple — not to others who were legally wed elsewhere and also are seeking to have Indiana recognize their marriages.
Quasney is terminally ill with ovarian cancer. The Munster couple, who have two young daughters, were married in Massachusetts last year and have argued that lack of such recognition would endanger Sandler's ability to collect Social Security and other death benefits.
Marriage law expert Seymour J. Reisman said it is "absolutely unusual" for a judge to take so much time to grant a stay.
"The purpose of a stay order is immediate relief," said Reisman, a partner in the New York law firm Reisman Peirez Reisman and Capobianco LLP. "When I say immediately, certainly no more than a week."
The delay makes Reisman suspect Young may simply skip the stay order and decide whether to throw out Indiana's gay marriage ban.
"It's clear to me from what he's done he's not going to do what the state wants," Reisman said.
Gay marriage supporters hope the tide will continue in their favor. Bans have been struck down in five states since Indiana's ban was argued in federal court in early April. Those states are Arkansas, Idaho, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“We are certainly optimistic that Indiana's marriage ban will be struck down as unconstitutional," said Paul Castillo, an attorney for the national gay rights group Lambda Legal, which represents five couples challenging Indiana's same-sex marriage ban. 
Bryan Corbin, spokesman for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, declined to speculate on the timing of a stay or a ruling.
"It is up to the court to determine in what order it rules on the motion for stay and motions for summary judgment. We cannot speculate as to the sequence or timing," Corbin said.
This year, laws banning same-sex marriage have been thrown out in a dozen states, a trend Young took note of when he ordered Indiana to recognize Sandler and Quasney's marriage.
“The court is not persuaded that, at this stage, Indiana's anti-recognition law will suffer a different fate than those around the country," Young wrote at the time. Attorneys for both sides expect the lawsuit and several like it throughout the country to eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court. Rulings striking down gay-marriage bans in Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia are already being appealed.
Castillo said it's important for the Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage "because we currently have a patchwork of laws."
“We need consistency across the country," he said.
Charles D. Wilson

December 14, 2013

Mary Chenney Stumps for Gay Rights in Indiana

Mary Cheney has a gift. She's made both sides of the political spectrum angry

  Mary Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has stepped up her defense of gay marriage, traveling to Indiana to campaign against a bill that would outlaw same sex unions.
Cheney, who lives in Virginia with her wife Heather Poe, has become more vocal on the issue since her public spat with sister after Liz Cheney spoke out against gay marriage last month during her campaign for a Wyoming Senate seat.
Mary Cheney spoke out against HJR6, a bill being considered in the Indiana legislature that would only recognize heterosexual marriages  as valid and says that “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”
Gay marriage is already outlawed in Indiana, but critics fear HJR6 would go beyond that and limit benefits for same sex couples.
“This is an incredibly personal issue for me, one that couldn’t possibly hit closer to home,” Cheney told supporters of Freedom Indian on Wednesday. The video of her remarks was posted today.
Concerns with the legislation center around its vague language and uncertain implications for same-sex couples if it were to be passed.  Freedom Indiana states on its website that in addition to their opposition to the elimination of same sex marriage validity in Indiana, that “no one has been able to clearly define what effects the second sentence would have on existing marriages, domestic partner benefits, human rights ordinances, legal contracts and benefits for unmarried couples.”
Cheney highlighted her conservative bona fides in the speech.
“I’m pro-life. I’m pro gun. I think more government is almost never the solution to any problem, and I believe you can’t have personal freedom without personal responsibility,” Cheney said emphatically.  ”And as a conservative I also believe that strong families are the cornerstone of our society…families regardless of how they look or how they’re made or where they live…deserve to be treated with the same respect, dignity, legal rights and recognitions as every other.”
“This isn’t about marriage equality. This is about standing up and opposing an amendment that would hurt Indiana’s economy, impact the state’s future development, and potentially devastate many of the state’s families,” said Cheney.  ”But while we may never agree on marriage equality, we can certainly all agree that this amendment is not the way to deal with the issue.”
Dick Cheney recently weighed into the controversy between his two daughters.  ”We were surprised that there was an attack launched against Liz on Facebook, and wished it hadn’t happened,” Cheney said at the National Press Club last week.  ”It’s always been dealt with within the context of the family and frankly that’s our preference.
Mary Cheney and Heather Poe were legally married in front of a judge in Washington, D.C. a little over a year ago.  The couple of over 21 years have a son and a daughter.
By Alex Lazar
pic Threshold Edition

December 4, 2013

Indiana Mayors Dead Against Cementing Ban For Gay Marriage

A bipartisan group of Indiana mayors including those of some of the state's largest cities are speaking out against cementing Indiana's ban on gay marriage in the state constitution.
The mayors of West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend and Hammond were among those opposing the proposed constitutional ban Tuesday because they said it would hurt their cities economically and deny equal rights to same-sex couples.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis released a statement to Freedom Indiana opposing HJR-6.
"The City of West Lafayette prides itself on being a diverse, tolerant and welcoming community. For years we have been a state-wide leader in celebrating our diversity and ensuring that all our citizens are treated with respect. Because of this guiding philosophy, West Lafayette and the Greater Lafayette community has celebrated having over a billion dollars of the new investment for 2013. HJR-6 sends the wrong message for our city, for our community and for our state," said Dennis.
The other 10 mayors announced their opposition in statements distributed by Freedom Indiana, a coalition of business groups and individuals fighting the amendment.
Executive director Micah Clark of the pro-amendment American Family Association of Indiana tells The Indianapolis Star he hasn't asked any mayors to support it.
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said Tuesday night he is opposed to the amendment.

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