Couples still waiting after stay halts same-sex marriage

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – Just one week ago Jim Smith and Jim Mailloux were a part of history as they became one of the first same-sex couples to marry in Tippecanoe County.

“It was probably the happiest day in our lives, that morning at the courthouse,” said Mailloux.

However, the celebration was short-lived, and less than a week later, the state no longer considers the couples marriage to be legal.

“You don’t know whether to tell people you’re married or not,” said Mailloux. “We have the rings, we have the rings on, we have a marriage certificate, but is it correct to tell somebody that you are married?”

“That’s probably been the hardest part of it. We still kind of feel like nothing’s really happened,” said Smith.

The decision to halt same-sex marriage was made Friday after Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller appealed to the 7th Circuit Court.

“We’re married in the federal governments eyes,” said Mailloux. “So as far as federal tax returns and things, we’re a couple. But with the state, it’s all up in the air.”

It may not be up in the air for long. Indiana University law professor David Orentlicher said the court of appeals has accelerated the process by a month, and a final briefing will likely be heard in August. Although the process has been accelerated, he said it could take until June of 2015.

“Waiting until June is not going to make the court understand the issue anymore than if they were to issue a decision in December, ” said Orentlicher. “So, the reasons to hurry up are very strong and the reasons for delay are pretty weak.”

As couples like Mailloux and Smith wait on the court of appeals to make a decision, the couple said they’re still married whether the state recognizes it or not.

“It doesn’t change how we feel towards each other, but it’s just a validation of finally the government recognizes that you’re equal,” said Mailloux. “You’re partners and that you have the same right as everybody else.”

According to Orentlicher, it could be months before the U.S. Court of Appeals reaches a decision. He said if it takes too long, the U.S. Supreme Court could eventually step in.

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