Monica Wehrle and Harriet Miller reside in Allen County, Ind., and have been a committed, loving couple since 1977. Long-time women's rights advocates, the couple created The Women's Bureau of Fort Wayne, a nonprofit human services agency that provides a host of services to women and children, and they spearheaded a national fundraising event for the organization.
Because they are not married, Wehrle and Miller are unable to own property as married people do.
Because they are not married, they have had to incur legal fees to ensure that in the event of one of their deaths, their property, including their business, would automatically pass to the surviving person. During the course of their relationship as a couple they have had to expend significant sums of money to pay attorneys to create legal documents to secure the right to make medical and other important life decisions for the other person in the event of incapacity. If they were married, such documents would not be necessary. Additionally, they are concerned that if one of them is hospitalized, these documents will not be honored.
Miller has three adult children and four grandchildren, and the couple has many great nieces and nephews who know them only as a couple. They wish to marry and wish to do so in Indiana, where they live. They want their legacy to be honored with dignity and their heirs to be proud of who they are, with knowledge that Indiana and the United States recognizes them and their contributions as a couple, providing them with full legal rights.
In March 2014, the ACLU of Indiana, along with attorney Sean Lemieux of the Lemieux Law Office in Indianapolis and the national ACLU, filed a lawsuit in federal court to challenge Indiana state law banning same-sex marriage, Indiana Code § 31-11-1-1, saying the law violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit, Midori Fujii, et al. v. Indiana Governor, et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of 13 plaintiffs, and is currently pending. The suit seeks to stop the state from enforcing this discriminatory law, to require the state to recognize marriages that have taken place outside of Indiana and to allow same-sex couples to wed in Indiana.
We are in the midst of an astounding point in history when Americans from coast to coast are realizing that all loving and committed couples deserve the freedom to marry.
Read the stories of the other plaintiffs in this lawsuit to bring marriage equality to Indiana: