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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.]