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Injured Lesbian Widow Challenges Indiana's Stance On Gay Marriage With Lawsuit

| Filed under: Gay Gay GayLegal MattersPolitikInspirationSad SadLGBT


There's no doubt that this woman is going through some immense physical and mental pain, but if ever there was a silver lining to this story, its that some real change may come from her strength.

Beth Urschel is one of the several people are suing the Mid-America Sound Corporation over the death of a loved one when the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. Beth's partner, Tammy VanDam, was killed in he accident, leaving Beth alone to care for their 17-year-old daughter. She herself sustained significant nerve damage and lost part of her foot in the incident, but she is fighting tooth and nail to sue the company for $60 million over the loss of her partner. There's just one problem - Indiana doesn't recognize same-sex marriage.

Over a decade ago, Beth and Tammy registered as reciprocal beneficiaries in Hawaii. The legal status affords them limited, but crucial rights, which include the right to sue for wrongful death. However, the status is not recognized outside of that state and thus bringing the company up on charges on Indiana may not pan out. Still, according to Beth's attorney, regardless of the law, she will fight for her right to sue the company for taking her Tammy away from her, no matter at what cost. Her lawyer told the press:

"No doubt it's a challenge, but we're up to it. The reality is we can't just stand idly by and accept this kind of inequity. People should be treated fairly and equitably. This is fundamentally wrong and unfair and I think it's important for us to try and rectify it."

Now that is some serious courage and love.

This is a very important case for Indiana and we hope the lawmakers there pay special attention to it. It's also more of a reason why the nation should be pushing for the Respect for Marriage Act to replace the Defense of Marriage Act, some people like Beth are not denied their rights simply because she is in a lesbian relationship.

Equality for all! We need it and we need it now.

Our hearts and thoughts go out to you, Beth, and your family in this difficult time. Stay strong! Fight hard! It will be worth it!

[Image via AP Images.]

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9 comments to “Injured Lesbian Widow Challenges Indiana's Stance On Gay Marriage With Lawsuit”

  1. 1

    The insurance company behind the policy for the company being sued will fight this tooth and nail, and it will have nothing to do with the fact that they were lesbians. Insurance policies work in a rate and risk business, you rate and factor in the risk and charge a premium. They will deny deny deny because business doesn't care about sexual orientation just a planned profit margin driving a stock price. Now maybe the company will be liable to support costs, or the state which may cause changes to liability coverage… but it won't just affect same sex partnership… it would be for a heterosexual partnership as well. Equality is equality…

  2. 2

    Re: Geat real – You are correct…. but you are still missing the point. They are made to FEEL less and as she grieving she doesn't need a huge smack in her face regarding the whole you are gay you are nothing mentality. Yes insurance companies are will fight, fight, fight. She will still have a worse time than a straight woman who lost her husband, TRUST me on this. I am gay and deal with this kind of stuff everyday. Indianna will say to this poor woman, you are not her family, you are nobody….that isn't what she needs to here…..it's really fucked up if you ask me.

  3. 3

    Wait….people are suing due to a freak act by Mother Nature?

  4. 4

    Sounds more like greed than love to me. 60 million seems like way too much

  5. 5

    this is precisely why they should be allowed to marry her loss to her life is just as big if not bigger than any married couple and now done out of the right to sue as well that anyone else would of naturally got thats appalling she needs the same rights as any other couple

    enough of making gays feel like outcasts in society…

  6. 6

    Wasn't this due to a freak storm? If there were no human error involved in the setting of the stage, how can ANYBODY sue? 90 MPH winds can't be sued.

  7. 7

    Re: Roshaa – Actually they are claiming it was negligence because they knew it was windy but went for it anyway. Who wouldn't try to sue in this case? They lost a loved one because of carelessness, it's not like this lady lost a car or something.

  8. @v@ says – reply to this


    If her accident settlement is any different from a hetero couple's settlement, then this is a perfect example of the inequities that gays are trying so hard to right legislatively.

  9. 9

    I get trying to sue even though according to all reports it was a freak accident. But 1 person suing for 60 million? No, not right.