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Gay marriage has supporters, opposition in NWI

Updated: April 29, 2013 11:52AM



As the Supreme Court considers two cases on the fate of same-sex marriage, Northwest Indiana residents are watching with interest, particularly on how it will impact their families and livelihoods.

Munster residents Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney used to live Illinois, where they were joined by civil union in 2011. They moved to Indiana later that year to be closer to family as Quasney underwent treatment for cancer.

Sandler conceived two children, with the help of a sperm donor, and they have two daughters — ages 2 years and 6 weeks. But the couple specifically chose to deliver the babies in Illinois, so Quasney would be listed on the birth certificate.

In both cases, Quasney has gone through the process of legally adopting her daughters to ensure her rights, but even that differs from Illinois to Indiana, where Quasney had to be fingerprinted and their home was visited by a caseworker.

“I think it’s important and exciting that the Supreme Court is taking up both cases,” Sandler said. “We have friends all over country and in California and this would impact us on a federal level with Social Security and inheritance taxes.”

Sandler said the case even came up during arts and crafts time with her 2-year-old. They were drawing hands, which she used to make a “High 5 for Marriage Equality” poster.

“I think as the tide starts to change these kinds of hurdles we won’t have to go through,” she said.

Even though support for same-sex marriage is growing, a large number of Americans are against it and Living Stones Church Pastor Ron Johnson Jr. is worried about nine unelected justices imposing their views on the rest of the country.

“We’ve seen in states that brought these measures before the people and 31 states voted in favor of traditional marriage,” Johnson said. “If the Supreme Court decides the marital version of Roe v. Wade, it will create a huge divisive issue.”

If same-sex marriage is legalized on a federal level, Johnson is worried that he will be forced to perform ceremonies and rent out his facilities or face a fine.

“It’s a slippery slope,” Johnson said. “What if you love multiple people or love a dog or a cat? It’s not a civil rights issue. It’s needs trumping the definition for what marriage has always been.”

In February, the Republican leadership in the Indiana General Assembly decided to delay consideration of a measure that would ban same-sex marriage in the state constitution until after the Supreme Court rules on the Prop 8 case. Any amendment would be subject to a voter referendum.

“I head up the Indiana Pastors Alliance and we have encouraged the legislature to vote and do something sooner rather than later,” Johnson said. “I’m much more comfortable when Hoosiers weigh in on the issue. We’re really opening this up to sexual anarchy.”



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