By Navar Watson
When the news broke June 25, Renee Mueller and Teresa Tibbs’ phones rang off the hook with friends and family wishing congratulations. A federal judge had overturned Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“I didn’t think this day would ever come,” Tibbs said.
Mueller and Tibbs, who live in Carmel, comprise one of several couples rushing in to the Hamilton County Government and Judicial Center to receive a same-sex marriage license. For many, the overturn came as a shock.
Fishers residents Angela Schaub and Dakota Baisa came with their son, Durden, shortly after finding out. After applying for a license, they waited about an hour for a judge to marry them.
Schaub and Baisa already celebrated their wedding with friends and family on June 23, 2012 – two years and two days before receiving their marriage license.
“We’ve already been referring to each other as wife and wife, but now we’ll have a piece of paper to solidify it,” Schaub said. “We have the rights that everybody else has that we should have had two years ago.”
Eleven same-sex marriage licenses were issued in Hamilton County after the ban was lifted on June 25. Mueller and Tibbs were the sixth or seventh couple to apply, Mueller said.
“We’re part of history,” she said.
The couple celebrated their marriage twice before in mass ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The second ceremony occurred during a human rights’ campaign in 2000 across from the Lincoln Memorial.
Since then, Mueller promised Tibbs they would have a “quiet, intimate” ceremony on the steps of Lincoln Memorial, once they were legally married in Indiana. The Lincoln Memorial, she said, represents freedom and equality for all.
They have considered doing the ceremony on Aug. 27, to commemorate their 25th anniversary together.
“That way we know it’s 25 years, and then we’ve got another 25 years of marriage to go,” Mueller said.
Hours after the overturn, Hamilton County Clerk Peggy Beaver joined Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller in filing an emergency motion for a stay that would halt same-sex marriages. Baisa said she expected an appeal “because it’s Indiana.” That’s why she and Schaub got a license immediately.
But there’s still a “glimmer of hope,” Baisa said, based on the “trend” of legalizing same-sex marriage in other states.
Mueller asked several people in the licensing process if the marriage would stay legitimate, even if the state successfully appealed the overturn. Nobody knew the answer, she said.
“It’s shocking. The last thing we ever expected in the state of Indiana was to have them say, ‘You can get married,’” Mueller said. “I don’t think anyone was expecting this at all.”