INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WANE) — Dozens of Indiana firefighters, police officers and emergency medical workers say a federal appeals court should uphold same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin for the sake of the families of gay first responders.
A spokeswoman for gay marriage supporters said Monday that more than 100 first responders have signed a legal brief to be filed Tuesday with the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals. The court has scheduled an Aug. 26 hearing on an appeal of rulings that threw out same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin.
The first responders argue Indiana provides financial help and other resources to families of heterosexual colleagues who fall in the line of duty, but not to families of gay first responders.
The plaintiffs who challenged Indiana’s gay marriage ban include firefighters and police officers.
EXCERPTS FROM THE AMICUS BRIEF
The final version of the brief will be filed with the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday.
“Gay and lesbian law enforcement officers and other first responders put on their uniforms, place themselves in harm’s away to protect and defend our communities, and swear to uphold our laws without prejudice or bias. They serve our communities with equal distinction, skill, and bravery. But Indiana and Wisconsin deny these men and women the equal dignity and respect they deserve. Indiana and Wisconsin do not treat them equally in their day-to-day work, nor, tragically, in Indiana, even when they make the ultimate sacrifice. Amici submit this brief, therefore, to explain why basic human dignity – enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection – requires the rulings of the court below to be affirmed.”
“The practical consequences of Indiana and Wisconsin’s discriminatory laws, and others like them, are very real to amici. Amici’s heterosexual colleagues go to work knowing that, should tragedy befall them in the line of duty, Indiana and the communities they served will come to their family’s aid – with financial resources, healthcare, and higher education. But even though amici walk shoulder to shoulder with their heterosexual colleagues, beneath them in Indiana is no safety net, only darkness born of fear and discrimination. Equal Protection demands equal protection for all those who serve.”