NEW INFORMATION: Gay marriage supporters heading to key hearing

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Busloads of gay-marriage supporters are heading to Chicago for a key hearing in their fight against same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana.

Couples boarded buses during rallies Monday in Indianapolis, Milwaukee and other cities, saying they believe they're on the right side of history.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago is scheduled to hear oral arguments Tuesday in a combined appeal from the states. Gay marriages bans in both states were ruled unconstitutional in June.

In Indianapolis, Henry Greene and his partner of 23 years, Glenn Funkhouser, were among about 100 supporters at a send-off rally. Greene says he's confident gay marriage will eventually be legal nationwide.

In Milwaukee, supporters blew bubbles and held up signs as same-sex couples and others boarded a Chicago-bound bus.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- U.S. Attorney James Santelle says the federal government is behind gay couples who are suing to have the right to marry.

The federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Wisconsin spoke Monday at a rally in Milwaukee before gay couples and their supporters boarded a bus to Chicago, where arguments will be held Tuesday in Wisconsin's gay marriage case.

A federal judge overturned Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage in June. The state appealed that decision to the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Santelle is not involved in the lawsuit. But he says the couples' fight to have the same rights as opposite-couples "is what America is all about," and he is telling gay couples that "the federal government and the U.S. Department of Justice is with you."
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two gay couples suing for the right to marry are off to Chicago to listen to oral arguments before a federal appeals court.

Carol Schumacher and Virginia Wolf and Judi Trampf and Katy Heyning boarded a bus Monday morning after a send-off at the OutReach LGBT Center in Madison. About two dozen people showed up to see them off.

The women are among a group of eight gay couples that have challenged Wisconsin's gay marriage ban. A federal judge struck the ban down in June but the state is appealing. Hundreds of couples married during the week between the decision and an order putting it on hold.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has combined Wisconsin's appeal with a similar one from Indiana. Arguments are set for Tuesday.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The rights of same-sex couples during medical emergencies will loom large when a federal appeals court considers a case targeting gay-marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the combined case Tuesday.

Couples involved in the lawsuits say powers of attorney and domestic partner registries don't guarantee they'll be allowed to make critical medical decisions for each other. They say only a marriage certificate provides that guarantee.

The states' bans were overturned in June, but the rulings have been put on hold.

Lambda Legal attorney Paul Castillo says the national gay rights group will highlight during the hearing the "assortment of harms" gay couples face under the bans, including the fear of not being able to make emergency medical decisions for their partners.

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