This is a sick and sad illustration of why DOMA has to go.
The blogosphere has been in mourning for days at the news that LGBT advocate Christina Santiago, manager of programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project at Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center, died in the collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair during a storm. A freak gust of wind toppled the stage while they were waiting for a Sugarland concert, killing five and injuring many others.
Santiago and her partner, Alisha Brennon, had chosen to take advantage of Cook County's legalization of civil unions and had a ceremony planned for September of 2012. Unfortunately, Brennon, who was injured in the accident, is keenly feeling the lack of any legal rights in her relationship with Santiago, as the coroner's office is now refusing to release her remains to Brannon. Why?
You've guessed it. The Defense of Marriage Act.
The Marion County coroner's office is refusing to release Santiago's body to her partner; the office cited the Defense of Marriage Act as the reason why they've turned down Brennon's request to pick up her loved one's remains. DOMA allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Indiana has its own version of DOMA that outlaws same-sex marriage. Since Indiana law requires the next-of-kin to pick up Santiago's body, but the state won't recognize Brennon as the surviving spouse, Santiago's body is still laying in the morgue awaiting a solution. Brennon, who is still hospitalized, is now working with Santiago's aunt to pick up the body and make funeral arrangements.This is worse than sad, it's disgusting. Brennon is injured and grieving for the loss of the love of her life, and the state of Indiana is kicking her where it counts just in order to assert its right to discriminate against gay relationships. I may have shed an angry tear over this one.