Gay Married in Indiana for 7 Hours, But Will It Count?

09/03/2014 12:15 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

The federal judges will decide whether or not the wedding I attended with my wife and 5-year-old daughter in June actually counts.

I wore a sweat-soaked T-shirt with a winking turd on it to the wedding.  However, my apparel was unremarkable compared to the event itself: Two men in Indiana were getting legally married.

The marriage lasted seven hours.

Same-sex marriage was was made legal by a court ruling on June 25th by Judge Richard L. Young.  On June 27th, my good friend J.R. Jamison was marrying his husband, Cory.  They've actually been married longer than Annie, my wife, and I have, but they wanted to make it official in the eyes of the State of Indiana and the federal government. Like many same-sex couples, they rushed to get married, fearing an emergency stay would be put in place by Indiana's attorney general. 

I was married for seven hours. As I think back on those who've had shorter marriages, perhaps only Britney Spears has me beat. Okay, let me rephrase that -- I was legally married for seven hours. My husband Cory, and I didn't decide to end our marriage. The State of Indiana made that decision.

It wasn't my intention to wear a turd T-shirt to the wedding. J.R. invited us to the wedding as Annie, Harper and I were stepping into the gym. The text came at 7:47 AM, which was just an hour after J.R. had invited his mother to the wedding.

The text read: "Getting gay married today around 9."

We finished our workout and hustled over to the Ball State University campus. J.R. and Cory were getting married beneath the university's iconic Beneficence statue.

On the way, Annie asked if we should say something to Harper about how this wedding was different than others she had attended. For starters her father had a turd T-shirt, but that's not what Annie meant.

"Harper," I said. "J.R. is marrying a boy named Cory."

"Okay," she said.

I looked at Annie. Do we leave it at that? Was that enough to not have her say, "Why are there two boys holding hands?" during the ceremony.

"Harper," Annie said, deciding to expound a bit, "a girl can marry a boy, or a boy can marry a boy, or a girl can marry a girl."

"I know that," Harper said. "I guess that's a little weird... " and then she shrugged as if to say whatever.

Annie pointed out all of the other same sex couples who Harper knows and loves -- Cousin Brice and his husband, Billy, Aunt Karen and Aunt Julie.  Most of what Harper knows about weddings she has learned about from the weddings of Disney and My Little Pony princesses. These are "traditional marriages" if you count horses getting married as long as they are of opposite sexes as a traditional marriage. Harper didn't have any more questions. She had accepted people could marry whomever they wanted and was done with the conversation and onto chattering about all of the other things 5-year-olds chatter about.

Before the ceremony started, Cory said he couldn't believe that he was about to get married in Indiana. He was proud to get married in his home state.

During the ceremony, Harper stood between Annie and me. Although Annie and I weren't dressed appropriately, Harper wore a rainbow-colored Rainbow Dash dress. She didn't say anything. She didn't have any questions. She just stood and watched as if something like this happened every day. 

Some are against same sex marriage because of their religion. I don't understand that, but I accept their choice to believe what they believe. But I don't accept faith being used to discriminate against an entire group of people. Love is love, and the law is the law.

Marriage equality isn't a faith issue; it is a rights issue.

On June 27th in Indiana no matter who you loved or chose to marry, you had all the legal rights provided to you as a married couple by the state and by the federal government.  

J.R. and Cory's first wedding nine years ago was a symbol of their commitment to one another, but this wedding would provide them with rights.

The minister, a friend of theirs, pronounced them "man and husband," and we all clapped as they kissed.

The feeling was one I'd never felt. Sure, we'd been 'married' nine years before, but this time it was different. It was as if the moment we kissed the world changed. The sun shone brighter, birds were singing louder, and I had an enormous weight lifted from my shoulders.

No longer would we need to worry about legalities such as hospital visitation, our finances, taxes or even what would happen if one of us unexpectedly died. Beyond being husbands, we were now each other's next of kin -- not in ceremony, but by law.

J.R. and Cory were legally married until that afternoon when an emergency stay was put in place that made same-sex marriage no longer legal in Indiana. In the eyes of the law their marriage was less than ours.

In Judge Young's ruling to legalize same sex marriage, he wrote, "Today, the 'injustice that [we] had not earlier known or understood ends."

I'm not exactly sure what Harper understands about marriage -- same sex or otherwise. Sometimes she says that she is going to marry me or her cousin, Cale. But I believe that the injustice that couples like J.R. and Cory have faced, and continue to face, will not be known by Harper's generation.  To me their wedding was a remarkable event, and I was proud to sign their marriage license as a witness. Someday I hope that to Harper and to the rest of us, such a wedding will be no more remarkable than any other.

Twenty states and the federal government have legalized same-sex marriage. It will happen in Indiana.  The injustice will end.