Niki Quasney, the terminally ill woman who helped bring an end to Indiana's discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage alongside her wife Amy Sandler, passed away Thursday, the Associated Press reports:
Quasney (far right) and Amy Sandler challenged Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage as Quasney neared the end of a years-long battle with ovarian cancer. The couple from Munster, which is in northwest Indiana and just south of Chicago, obtained a civil union in Illinois in 2011 and married in Massachusetts in 2013, and they wanted Sandler listed as Quasney's spouse on her Indiana death certificate to ensure that Sandler and the couple's two young children received the death benefits to which married couples are entitled. […]
Last April, a federal judge ruled Indiana must recognize the couple's marriage. The judge went on to rule the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional – a ruling that was later upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul Castillo:
Niki and Amy and their daughters became Indiana’s first family when they bravely joined Lambda Legal’s marriage case, which meant openly sharing very personal and painful parts of their journey together as Niki battled cancer. They brought this case and fought so hard because they loved each other and wanted their daughters to be treated with respect, just like any other family in Indiana. They also fought for all same-sex couples and their children in Indiana. They never wanted to be alone in recognition of their family. They knew that by coming forward they could help accelerate equality for all same-sex couples in Indiana by demonstrating the urgency of their need for equal dignity.
To date, this marriage case was the fastest from filing to victory through a federal circuit court. The courts were touched by Niki’s and Amy’s story, and accelerated not just Indiana’s marriage cases, but Wisconsin’s as well. The opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was one of the most scathing attacks on marriage bans from a court. Niki and Amy’s bravery made history. […]
We thank Niki and Amy for their courage to stand up for their family and lead the fight for marriage in Indiana. We all owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.