Melody Layne and Tara Betterman of Indianapolis have lived together in a committed relationship for nearly five years. Melody and Tara share their home in Indianapolis with Melody’s five year-old biological daughter. Although Tara does not have a legal relationship with the child, she is a parent in every practical respect and their daughter understands that they are family. Melody and Tara strongly support each other. They share finances and responsibility for their property, including the home they share.
In 2012, Melody and Tara married in Central Park in New York City. They would have preferred to marry in their home state, but are prohibited from doing so by Indiana statute. Because their marriage is not recognized in Indiana, Melody and Tara have gone to considerable expense to have an attorney draw up documents, such as health care and general powers of attorney, to try to protect themselves. They understand, however, that this affords them only a fraction of the protections that come with marriage and they are concerned that those papers will not be honored in a crisis.
Melody and Tara would like their marriage to be recognized in Indiana not only because of the concrete protections it would provide them and their daughter, but also because being treated as an unmarried couple disrespects the commitment they have made to one another and devalues their family. They hope that their marriage will be recognized in Indiana before their daughter is old enough to be aware that the state does not consider her family deserving of the same respect afforded other families.