Stage Collapse Lawsuit to Test Gay Marriage Law

Beth Urschel suing Indiana over death of Tammy Van Dam

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 23, 2011 10:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – The tragic Indiana State Fair stage collapse could have political implications: Beth Urschel is suing the state, as well as three companies, in the death of Tammy Van Dam, whom she married in Hawaii. But since gay marriage is illegal in Indiana, the $50 million lawsuit will test the state’s treatment of same-sex couples, the Wall Street Journal notes. In Indiana, only next of kin or a spouse of the victim can benefit from a wrongful death suit.

Urschel also names Mid-America Sound Corp., which designed the stage, as well as Dave Lucas Entertainment Group and Live Nation, which her attorney says co-organized the concert, in the suit filed Friday. "Just because her spouse happens to be a woman and she happens to be a woman doesn't make it any less painful, any less egregious, and any less compensable," her attorney says. Click to read about the tragic event's 7th victim.

A patron stops and views a memorial in front of the Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis,  Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011.
A patron stops and views a memorial in front of the Grandstand at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011.   (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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