INDIANA: Lawsuits Over Stage Collapse May Set Precedent For LGBT Rights
This summer's tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair may have broad implications regarding the "portability" of gay marriages and civil unions.
Indiana's attorney general said he will not be the one to pick a fight over the rights of a Chicago woman whose same-sex partner was killed in the collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. But legal experts say lawsuits filed in the case are certain to have widespread implications for same-sex couples across the U.S. Chicagoan Alisha Brennon entered into a civil union in Illinois with her partner, Christina Santiago, in June, shortly after civil unions became legal in Illinois on June 1. In August, Santiago was one of seven people killed when a storm blew down an outdoor concert stage in Indianapolis. Last week, Brennon filed three lawsuits seeking damages for the death of her partner. The suits could force the courts to decide whether civil unions in one state have legal standing in another.Indiana's attorney general says he will attempt to have the suit against the state dismissed, but not on the grounds that Indiana does not recognize civil unions. Last year the Indiana legislature approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage, but that issue must survive a second legislative approval and a public referendum before becoming law.