Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Indiana hits new low of homophobic bigotry

UPDATE: From the original source: "Alfarena Ballew from the Marion County Coroner's office called to offer this statement, "Her friend and her aunt are working together with the life partner to take care of the remains. We have nothing in writing from the partner asking to claim the body. Our records show that the next of kin is her aunt. Our understanding now is that they're all working together to release the body and take care of the services." Ms. Ballew described the incident as a "misunderstanding" and says the office is on track to release the body shortly."

This weekend the main performance stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed during unusually high winds, killing five and injuring 40. You probably already heard about this, since terrifying videos of the stage crushing concert goers quickly went viral. Due to the quick emergency response and bravery of people in the audience, many lives were saved. And thankfully none of my friends or family were harmed in the incident.

But for those who lost their loved ones, you'd hope they can eventually move on from this tragedy through mourning and memorial services. Unless you're a lesbian, in which case Indiana says Fuck You:
When a stage collapsed during the Indiana State Fair over the weekend, Christina Santiago, manager of programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project at Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center, was one of the casualties. Santiago's partner, Alisha Brennon, was also injured in the tragedy.
The Marion County coroner's office is refusing to release Santiago's body to her partner; the office cited the Defense of Marriage Act as the reason why they've turned down Brennon's request to pick up her loved one's remains. DOMA allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Indiana has its own version of DOMA that outlaws same-sex marriage. Since Indiana law requires the next-of-kin to pick up Santiago's body, but the state won't recognize Brennon as the surviving spouse, Santiago's body is still laying in the morgue awaiting a solution. Brennon, who is still hospitalized, is now working with Santiago's aunt to pick up the body and make funeral arrangements.
Nausiating. It shames me to be associated with this state at all. Dan Savage already put it best:
This is what DOMA is designed to do. DOMA does nothing to strengthen traditional marriages. It doesn't prevent straight couples from divorcing or make straight couples any more likely to take responsibility for their children. The federal DOMA and all the mini-DOMAs enacted by the states only serve to torment and persecute gay people at the most trying moments of their lives: when a partner is ill, when a child is sick, when a partner dies. And people who claim to be Christians will howl the loudest if DOMA is repealed.
When are we going to move out of these dark ages?

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