NewsPublic Affairs / April 10, 2014

Judge Says Indiana Must Recognize Lesbian Couple's Marriage

Brandon Smith
Judge Says Indiana Must Recognize Lesbian Couple's Marriage

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A federal judge today ordered Indiana to recognize the marriage of one same-sex couple. 

The Associated Press reports:

A federal judge has ruled that the state must recognize the marriage of a gay couple before one of the women, who has cancer, dies.

The Indiana attorney general's office says U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young granted the couple's request for a temporary restraining order Thursday to keep the state from enforcing its ban on gay marriages against the couple.

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler wanted Indiana to recognize their 2013 marriage in Massachusetts, one of 17 states where gay marriage is legal.

Quasney has stage 4 ovarian cancer and the Munster, Ind., couple wanted Young to order the state to recognize their marriage in Quasney's anticipated death certificate.

The decision doesn't affect other lawsuits challenging Indiana's gay marriage ban.

Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith reports:

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler were married in Massachusetts, but Indiana's marriage law does not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.
Quasney and Sandler joined a lawsuit last month challenging that law. The couple also asked for emergency recognition of their marriage, saying the law was causing them irreparable harm because Quasney has ovarian cancer and doctors don’t know how much longer she’ll live.  
At a hearing in Evansville, Judge Richard Young agreed, saying Indiana's statute likely violates the Constitution and there’s no adequate remedy for Quasney and Sandler short of recognizing their marriage. 
Quasney and Sandler’s attorneys call the decision a victory and say Indiana has no justification to deny the couple legitimacy and respect as a family.  The Attorney General’s office downplayed the impact of the decision, noting it doesn’t apply to any other couple.  The judge’s ruling expires in about a month, when another hearing will determine whether the order should be extended.



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