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Councilman Zach Adamson’s Wedding Bells Will Ring out a Political Statement

Indianapolis’s first openly gay city-county councillor and his partner want to get married. Indiana won’t let them. So tomorrow they’re tying the knot in D.C. instead.

City-county councilman Zach Adamson and partner Christian Mosburg flew to Washington D.C. today, and the trip was only partly by choice: The two can’t tie the knot in their home state, so they’re going where same-sex marriages are legally recognized.

“There is a historical context to having an elected official go through this ceremony,” Adamson told IM today from D.C. But, he said, “I thought it was important that everyone be able to share in the experience [here in Indy].” And he wasn’t exaggerating when he said “everyone.” He and Mosburg have planned a second, public ceremony here at home on October 26, at Life Journey Church on the east side, followed by a reception at Talbott Street Nightclub.

Regular attendees of the church, Adamson and Mosburg will have five religious officiants at the local ceremony, including a rabbi and a Buddhist monk, giving blessings from various faiths—which Adamson said goes to show that “the opposite of LGBT relationships is not religion.”

The couple’s wedding plans have garnered a fair amount of media attention—news stories by the Indianapolis Star and WTHR Channel 13, and, for Adamson, an upcoming appearance on the talk show No Limits on WFYI 90.1 FM in December—and Adamson said the guest list at the Indy proceedings is a who’s who of notable public officials, including Mayor Greg Ballard and other public officials from both sides of the political aisle. It would not be incorrect to say that they’re doing it for show; drawing attention to the nuptials is partly the point.

“I would say that at least the profile would be a political statement,” he said. “The marriage is not a political statement. That is for us, the benefit of our relationship and our family. … We had to forgo having [the official marriage ceremony] in a place where our family and our friends were already at home. So we thought if we are going to do this we are going to do it big. That is where the political statement comes in.”

Zach Adamson and Christian Mosburg walk in the 2013 Indy Pride Festival ParadeAdamson and Mosburg’s out-of-state wedding will be the second by a high-profile Indianapolis couple in as many days; IMA director Charles Venable and his partner Martin Webb married in New York earlier today.

The issue of gay marriage is one that Hoosiers will see more frequently over the next year. A measure that would put a proposed constitutional ban on the unions before voters is on the docket for the 2014 Indiana General Assembly. For Adamson, the city's first openly gay city-county councillor, getting married now seemed like perfect timing. “We thought this was important enough, and the position that I have is high-profile enough, that it would do a lot of good for this issue.”

“We sent our financial information over to our accountant and said, ‘Hey, you know if we file jointly, there is a financial benefit,’” Adamson continued. The dialogue began earlier this year, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the so-called federal Defense of Marriage Act. “So we talked it over and thought that this was the right time to do it, and it would be a positive thing for both us and our family and the community at large.”

“The more exposure people have to the diversity that is already in our community, it is harder for them to create the phantom menace out of people that they already know,” said Adamson, “putting a human face on something they have really been able to demonize as long as it has been sort of unseen. … All we are trying to do with this is highlight the inequity that exists.”

Read "Out on the Trail," the 2011 IM feature about Adamson and the rise of LGBT politicians in Indianapolis.