Indiana Lawmakers in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a June 25 decision by the U.S District Court, which ruled a ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional. As a result, many organizations are reviewing their policies on same sex spouse benefits. The University of Notre Dame is a high profile institution that has decided to lead the charge toward offering the benefits, despite the internal religious views.
According to the South Bend Tribune, the University of Notre Dame notified all benefits eligible employees of the policy change on Wednesday, October 9, via email. The policy change comes just two days after gay marriage became officially legal in Indiana. According to the internal email, the policy change is being enacted to coincide with the state law.
"This means that the law in Indiana now recognizes same-sex marriages and the University will extend benefits to all legally married spouses, including same-sex spouses."The email went on to state.
"Notre Dame is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage. However, it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately."Notre Dame's decision to provide same sex benefits is a huge step toward equality. Their high profile presence in the Catholic community has long reaching influence.
The same sex benefit policy has been extended to Saint Mary's College, which lies within the grounds of the University of Notre Dame.
Notre Dame law professor, Amy Barrett, believes there will be little to no attempt to reverse Indiana's legality of gay marriage, stating that she believes it is "dead for the foreseeable future." Some Indiana residents are glad to see the issue finally resolved so lawmakers can move onto bigger and more important topics. Chad Crabtree, who lobbied against marriage being defined solely as a man and woman institution was ecstatic to see resolution and hopes to see more important issues tackled. Pastor Mike Fisher, of Grace bible Church, is upset over the decision, but has given in to the definition of the law, despite his beliefs, but not before sharing his view on homosexual individuals in general.
"It's not like we don't like these people. It's what God says."With such a vast difference in opinion on both sides of the issue, it is unknown whether protests will be planned against the decision to allow same sex benefits for spouses.
[Photo Courtesy: University of Notre Dame Admissions]