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Same-sex couple’s marriage will be recognized by state of Indiana

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Indiana state sealA federal judge has granted a request to temporarily recognize one Indiana same-sex couple’s marriage. The couple, Nikole Rai Quasney and Amy Melissa Sandler, filed the request for the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction because Quasney has stage IV ovarian cancer, and their family, including two young children, wouldn’t be protected without recognition of their marriage in the event one person passes away.

The new order granting the temporary restraining order isn’t a final resolution of the case, it only serves to ensure the couple’s marriage is recognized for purposes of the death certificate:

Quasney has stage 4 ovarian cancer, and the couple had argued in their complaint that the court should grant their request because “they have an urgent need to have their marriage recognized” due to Quasney’s terminal illness.

[Judge] Young ordered the state to recognize their marriage in Quasney’s anticipated death certificate.

“No one can determine for sure how much time Niki has left. And it was certainly important to the couple to be recognized as married during the time she has remaining, [Paul] Castillo [an attorney at Lambda Legal] said.

Young’s order issued Thursday lasts until May 8, and cannot be appealed. The court is expected to schedule a hearing as soon as possible on a preliminary injunction, which would last until the courts ruled on the larger issue of whether Indiana ban’s is constitutional.

The order was issued as part of a case filed by Lambda Legal, Baskin v. Bogan, challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban.

For more information on Baskin v. Bogan from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. Josh  |  April 11, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    This is really good for the couple, but so sad Ms. Quasney is battling cancer. They should be spending as much time together and not having to fight a legal battle. I hope all the best for them and their kids. Just goes to show how cruel these marriage bans really are.

  • 2. Richard Weatherwax  |  April 12, 2014 at 12:00 am

    How about the other couples in Indiana who will face the same situation if their marriage is not recognized? In fact the same goes for every state in which same sex marriage is banned. Stays
    supporting the bans merely put every same sex couple into the position where one of them may die before their marriage is legal.

  • 3. grod  |  April 12, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Richard, I encourage patience and perspective. Not all here today will be present when the USA is an equality nation. Consider a year ago, this decision would have been unimaginable. Thanks to Ohio's James Obergefell and to Judge T Black, you and the LGBT community long for more than a death certificate. [ on April 4, from the bench you got it in Henry v Wymyslo]. You can thank the Supremes for your frustration and impatience. Last June 26, Justice Kennedy et al chose to ignore Section 2 DOMA. Last January 6, Justice Sotomayor and her brothers and sisters issued a stay of Kitchen v Herbert. Pat however puts your quest for equality in perspective

  • 4. Richard Weatherwax  |  April 13, 2014 at 1:23 am

    I recognize the importance of patience. In fact, everything is moving with greater speed than I imagined. However, I was pointing out that the reasons for granting this couple permission to marry could be extended to every same sex couple because there is never any way of knowing when some one is going to die, thus leaving unmarried couples in the same position as Nikole and Amy may soon face.

  • 5. Terry  |  April 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

    True at its core, but, in this case, 1 person is battling a life-threatening illness. That appears why the differentiation is being made – at least at this point in the progress towards equality. I would guess some of the people in the other Indiana cases agree. They're already seeing a pro-equality decision instead of having to wait. I'm sure they are reading the tea leaves on their own outcome in the cases.

  • 6. KarlS  |  April 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    But then, every human life is a sexually-transmitted terminal condition or perhaps 'disease'…

  • 7. Terry  |  April 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I don't.

  • 8. Background Gal  |  April 13, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    You do. He means all human life comes from sex, and death comes to all life. Dark, but true.

    And applicable here… in that none of us know if we'll live long enough to get the rights our spouses need and deserve. Waiting isn't an option for an unknown number of us.

  • 9. Terry  |  April 13, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    I see. But in this case, it's known this woman has a terminal illness. A known fact which drove the judges decision. He'll get to the (very important) long-term general rights question the next round or so.

  • 10. Terry  |  April 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I will add some of what is coloring my take on this is my 76 year old mom died of ovarian cancer. She admittedly waited too long to have it diagnosed (she did not like to go to "the doctor"). She had surgery to have it removed, chose not to go through follow-up treatment, and died a week and a half later the day before my flight was to arrive.

    So I think what colors my opinion here is this real life personal example, and knowing how quick someone can "go" in these circumstances even if they're getting treatment. So, in my opinion, I'd step aside so this woman could get married due to her known illness. Me and my partner (who don't have known illnesses) can wait to the next turn. After all, we've been waiting all along. I don't think, if we were in Indiana and a plaintiff in one of these cases, it would be that much longer.

  • 11. PersonOfFaith  |  April 14, 2014 at 3:10 am

    All life comes from God… not sex. Sex is just the method he invented for a species to procreate.

  • 12. Frisky1  |  April 14, 2014 at 7:44 am

    You must be talking about Zeus or Ra because the god in the bible didn't create women until Adam rejected all the animals as his companion. Not terribly bright, that one.

  • 13. Lee  |  April 12, 2014 at 3:00 am

    I really wish somebody would do something about the comment spammers. 3 out of 5 recent entries in the "Comments" column were all spam. It appears to happen in older posts. Closing blogs older than a few months or more to new comments would stop that from happening.

  • 14. bayareajohn  |  April 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I think the business of SPAM advertising targets older threads because they are likely to stick around longer without being noticed. While that seems counter to the purpose of advertising, it seems that the spam business promises clients x number of posts on sites. They can show more "live" posts if they aren't cleaned out, even if no one is reading them. A wacky business model. Stupid clients. Why pay for angering exposure? But then, how can telemarketing work… I get 4 to 6 bogus sales calls daily. How can they imagine that suddenly I'll have a change of heart and give them my credit card?

    But I digress.

    I've followed some of the spammers here back through INTENSE DEBATE and see they are really extensive in their reach. On many other sites using this same comment service, if you use the REPORT link, the post goes hidden until and unless the site puts it back out. Kind of prone to abuse, I think. It's not that way here… although it appears that no one EVER deals with the reported spam here. I've reported hundreds here through the years, and never actually saw any go away.

  • 15. karen in kalifornia  |  April 12, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Death certificate only?

  • 16. Lymis  |  April 12, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    It's a foot in the door. As it was in Ohio, it's a recognition that the marriage is real for federal purposes, and that, whether the state likes it or not, they don't get to override that just because they issue a form or oversee a program.

    In a way, this is a reverse of the same issue that Massachusetts raised in their DOMA case – that they were required by their constitution to recognize gay marriage, but they were not allowed to bury a veteran's same-sex spouse in a VA cemetery without risking loss of all VA funding in the state, even though the state manages that money. That the federal government was forcing them to illegally discriminate.

    This may be a reflection of the fact that while a state may (or may not) be allowed to recognize a marriage for state benefits, they are not allowed to refuse to recognize it for federal ones.

    We noticed this in our income taxes – we live in Illinois but my husband works in Indiana, and they changed the language about their taxes – he still couldn't claim me as a spouse, but he was no longer required to use his federal 1040 as filed, as he used to. They specifically acknowledge that they were making him fill out a fake federal 1040 as though he were single and use the numbers from that. They weren't trying to pretend his marriage isn't federally valid.

    I think we're likely to see a nationwide judicial ruling recognizing marriage and the fundamental right to it pretty soon, but these sorts of cases make a big difference and highlight the specific nature of the discrimination.

  • 17. grod  |  April 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Karen: Ohio's John Arthur, James Obergefell's partner, had no idea how long he would be holding his foot in the door. Answer: less than four months. Tomorrow Judge T. Black will issue his ruling in the Henry v Wymyslo case of four couples married out of state seeking birth certificates. From the bench, he ruled the out-of-state provisions of Ohio’s amendment unconstitutional. In Indiana, In March, 4 out-of-state couples (Love v Pense) filed for recognition. Days later Lambda Legal filed a similar case there (Baskin v Bogan) representing 3 couples. As with Obergefell & Arthur, Niki Quasney & Amy Sandler's circumstances will have opened the door for others. Schedule not clear to me. Judge Young's decision in Ms Quasney & Ms Sabdleer's case and tomorrow's ruling in Henry v Wymysalo case may have another audience: appeal court Judges J. Holmes, C. Lucero and P. Kelly, hearing Oklahoma's Bishop and Barton case. Only equality-favoured judgment have been rendered post Windsor.

  • 18. Dr. Z  |  April 12, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Interesting article – attempts are underway to restrict divorce. I can't help but think that some of the court cases that are circulating about the right to same-sex divorce may one day be almost as important to American jurispudence as the better-known cases about same-sex marriage. Furthermore, as important as the SSM marriage cases are to gay couples, the SSM divorce cases may end up being just as important to straight couples.

  • 19. bayareajohn  |  April 13, 2014 at 1:33 am

    I'd like you to expand on your last thought… I can't quite grasp how SSD would leverage value to straight couples. I'd expect the opposite… that restrictions on divorce of couples with minor children would weigh on both straight and gay.

    As a former divorce lawyer, I can say my experience does not support -any- value of extending waiting periods… other than letting the unwilling partner have more time to come to grips with what is happening (at least occasionally valuable to the post-divorce relationship). But I think that mandated classes (especially non-onerous short term ones) could make a positive difference in how the couple and children fare after the divorce. Of course, they need to be good classes, pushing strategies and tactics on how to succeed in parenting while divorced. There is something there to learn. And better they have to hear it than not.

  • 20. Dr. Z  |  April 13, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Because the SSD cases are helping to establish the case law around the right to divorce. There are few attempts to restrict the rights of straight couples to get married. Where restrictions on OS couples come into play are generally around divorce ("covenant" marriages, longer waiting times, efforts to abolish no-fault divorce.) To the extent that SSD helps establish the right to a divorce and clarifies which restrictions are permissible, the SSD case law is more likely to be relevant to OS couples than SSM case law. Just a guess.

  • 21. bayareajohn  |  April 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I think you are implying that SSD will map out a new constitutional "right to divorce" that does not exist (or at least is undefined) for OSD. Maybe you presume this will be an easier win for SSD as those against SSM would arguably be willing to end as many such SSM as possible. I don't think this will happen. The result of our effort for marriage equality is unlikely to include special rights to divorce that OSM's will covet.

  • 22. Dr. Z  |  April 14, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Not exactly. I think the SSD cases may help establish the limits of how divorce may be restricted. For example, if a SS couple marries in one state, may another state refuse to allow them to divorce because the circumstances of their marriage are against the public policy of that state?

  • 23. Lee  |  April 13, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Another experiment in social engineering being pushed by narrow minded people.

    In cooperation with the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, socially conservative politicians have been quietly trying to make it harder for couples to get divorced. … If divorces are tougher to obtain, social conservatives argue, fewer marriages will end. And having more married couples is not just desirable in its own right but is a social good, they say.

  • 24. Terry  |  April 13, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Does forcing people to stay together make them like each other more and everything better? Such a simple proposition. How did I miss that?

    If this law was in place all along, everyone would magically like each other more, right?

    So say the simpletons.

  • 25. Zack  |  April 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    I can see how it would attract some people, though. There are a lot of people out there whose parents divorced as children. For some it was a relief, for others indifferent, but for some it was felt as a personal tragedy. The idea that somehow, if the law was different, one's parents might have stayed together (that impossible dream)? I guess, ultimately, it may well be very unlikely to work that way, but to some it will be a seductive idea.

    I don't think we can necessarily compare the divorce issue to marriage equality. Honestly, I can't think of a reason to oppose marriage equality which does not involve some degree of bigotry, even if only unconscious bigotry. But I can think of reasons why some people might want to discourage divorce that are not based on bigotry, but rather negative personal experiences with it.

  • 26. Lee  |  April 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Meanwhile in Utah County, a very tragic story about a woman arrested after seven dead babies were found in her garage, all in cardboard boxes. Her ex-husband found them while cleaning out the garage before moving back into the home. Story at

    How's that "optimal child rearing" theory working out?

  • 27. Steve  |  April 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Anyone thinking that they will stop at gay people is fooling themselves. There will always be other people to go after.

  • 28. Zack12  |  April 13, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    All you have to do is listen to how they describe single parents to know they most certainly won't stop with us.
    In their eyes, their version of the perfect family where dad works, mom cooks and cleans is the only good version and they want to impose that view on everyone, whether they want to or not.

  • 29. Background Gal  |  April 13, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    The only upside of this is that it will alienate half of every demographic, further narrowing the FRC and NOM foothold and support. I bet some of their small pool of very rich supporters don't want to lose divorce.

  • 30. Sagesse  |  April 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Six months of gay marriage in NJ yields nearly 3,000 weddings []

  • 31. 18 Lessons Learned From B&hellip  |  April 13, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    […] The order was issued as part of a case filed by Lambda Legal, Baskin v. Bogan … Bogan, challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. For more information … Case Timeline Equality on Trial's Case Timeline is the go-to place to find thorough, up-to-date information on the myriad of marriage equality lawsuits taking place across … Read more on Equality on Trial (registration) […]

  • 32. thelawworks  |  April 14, 2014 at 1:19 am

    This case, and the cases in Ohio and Illinois, are strong evidence that district court judges should not stay their decisions.

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  • 34. Sagesse  |  April 14, 2014 at 3:32 am

    Thank you Evan Wolfson. From Keen News Speed Read:

    FACING THE NATION: CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer sounded somewhat fatigued by the subject matter Sunday when asked Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry group, “So, now it’s gay rights. Is that the next chapter of the civil rights…uh…struggle that’s been going on for so long?” “I wouldn’t call it the next chapter,” said Wolfson, “I think it’s part of the same struggle. I think that what the struggle … that the civil rights movement did so much to lay the foundation for… was to create an America that’s a more perfect union for everybody. And gay people are part of that everybody. But as we’ve just all heard and said, we’re not done with any of these fights on any of these fronts that overlap anyway. My blood boils when I see voter suppression and the assault on women’s access to contraception…. Civil rights is about the America we want for everybody.”

  • 35. Ragavendran  |  April 21, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Judge explains the rationale behind his order, and it is not surprising:

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