Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Indy Coroner Won't Release Body to Lesbian's Partner

More damage and BS because of DOMA and hate.

Filed By Bil Browning at Bilerico.com
When a stage collapsed during the Indiana State Fair over the weekend, Christina Santiago, manager of programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project at Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center, was one of the casualties. Santiago's partner, Alisha Brennon, was also injured in the tragedy.

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. It's unclear whether or not Santiago has other family available to claim her corpse and take it home for burial.

Legislation to repeal DOMA has been introduced in both chambers of Congress. The Indiana legislature passed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions earlier this year; the amendment will have to pass a separately elected session of the legislature before being sent to the ballot for Hoosiers to vote on. Backers of the bill also tried to pass legislation that would have prevented state government from providing domestic partner benefits to LGBT employees and killed anti-bullying legislation introduced after a 15 year old boy killed himself after being being continuously subjected to anti-gay bullying.

The coroner's office didn't respond to multiple requests for comment on this story. They did confirm that Santiago's body has not been claimed yet.

UPDATE: A fellow reporter working on the story in Indianapolis sends over this information: "Christina's aunt is working with her partner to pick up the body and finalize funeral arrangements. Christina's partner is still hospitalized."

1 comment:

  1. An LGBTQ blogger at bilerico.com posted a claim that Indiana was using DOMA to refuse to release Christina's body to her partner. His claim is spreading around the nation and it appears to have NO BASIS IN TRUTH. He has posted a weak update (rather than a retraction), but people are going ballistic and contacting media, the state of Indiana, etc.

    It's despicable that Bil Browning has taken advantage of a terrible tragedy to promote unfounded rumors from anonymous sources to further his own agenda. His purely selfish, offensive manipulation of the facts of the situation should be exposed in every article that has since picked up his distortion. Demand that he put the truth at the TOP of his blog post and apologize for his action and the resulting turmoil he has introduced into the already shattered lives of Christina's family and community.

    Please do what you can to stop this misinformation from spreading further.

    And shame on you, BJ, for blindly propagating this mess.