Federal Judge Orders Indiana to Recognize Gay Couple's Marriage
A federal judge today ordered the state of Indiana to recognize the marriage of a gay couple married in Massachusetts, the Indy Star reports:
Judge Richard Young heard arguments in Evansville, where attorneys for Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney argued for immediate recognition of the couple's Massachusetts marriage via a temporary restraining order. Quasney, of Munster, was diagnosed in 2009 with ovarian cancer and is terminally ill.
The order will last for 28 days. A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled at that time.
The couple argued that the emergency request for recognition is about dignity and recognizing a family.
The state argued that its definition of marriage is based on protections for children who come out of unplanned pregnancies and that granting temporary restraining orders are not a matter of emotional equity but of legal rights.
The paper adds that "a ruling favorable for Sandler and Quasney allows the couple to access certain benefits available only to couples who already are legally married in Indiana. However, the temporary restraining order could be overturned or vacated during future court proceedings."
Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler have been in a loving and committed relationship for 13 years, and they have two children under the age of three. Ms. Quasney was diagnosed in 2009 with ovarian cancer, having more than 100 tumors removed in surgery days later. Two additional surgeries and aggressive chemotherapy treatment followed. They have a civil union in Illinois and married in Massachusetts in 2013 but need their marriage to be legally recognized in Indiana to receive the protections and security that every other married family in Indiana receives. These include the ability to access federal and state safety nets for surviving spouses and their children, and the right to a death certificate that accurately reflects their marriage. Further, Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler frequently travel far from their home to receive medical treatment as a result of their prior experience with the local hospital suggesting it would defer to state law to determine whether a couple is married.