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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 11 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 15
Federal judge orders Indiana to recognize Lesbian marriage
Section One
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Federal judge orders Indiana to recognize Lesbian marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Indiana must immediately recognize the marriage of Amy Sandler and her wife Niki Quasney, a Federal District Court ruled on April 10.

Sandler and Quasney have been in a committed relationship for 13 years, and have two children. They were married in Massachusetts in 2013, but Indiana law prohibits the state from recognizing their marriage.

Almost five years ago, Quasney was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. She had more than 100 tumors surgically removed in 2009, and spent years taking chemotherapy.

On March 10, Lambda Legal filed suit on their behalf, seeking emergency relief so their marriage could be legally recognized in Indiana. Quasney said she wants certainty that Sandler will receive an accurate death certificate so that she can handle her final affairs and access the safety net available to a surviving spouse and young children.

Lambda Legal asked that the case be heard on an emergency basis due to Quasney's medical circumstances.

In his ruling, Federal District Judge Richard Young said the couple had proved the potential of immediate harm, and that a reasonable likelihood exists that Quasney and Sandler will win their overall case. His order to the state will be in effect for 28 days. A preliminary injunction hearing will be scheduled by that time, though Young could choose to extend the order.

'We are so relieved,' Niki Quasney said. 'We are so thankful that we can move forward and concentrate on being with each other. Our time together and with our daughters is the most important thing in the world to me. I look forward to the day when all couples in Indiana have the freedom to marry.'

Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal, said:

'We're greatly relieved for Amy, Niki and their two young children.

'They are a loving family coping with a terminal illness. The State of Indiana has no justification for denying them dignity, legitimacy, and respect as a family during this inexpressibly difficult time. They're married, they love each other and they are doing their best to protect their family. The local hospital defers to state law to determine whether a couple is validly married, and Niki worries that she won't be able to be with Amy when it counts. Niki also wants to make sure Amy has the protections of a surviving spouse under Indiana law.'

The suit is one of five legal challenges filed last month to the Indiana law that bans same-sex marriage and prohibits recognition of such marriages performed in other states. They join more than 60 others filed nationwide since the U.S. Supreme Court decision ruled last year that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

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