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Federal judge extends order requiring Indiana to recognize one couple’s same-sex marriage

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UPDATE: 11:15ET: The state is asking for a stay of the order. The request for a stay is here.

The state has also filed its notice of appeal. The case will go to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, meaning there are now same-sex marriage cases in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits.

A federal judge in Indiana has granted a preliminary injunction requiring the state to recognize the marriage of one same-sex couple. (One of the women is terminally-ill.) The court had earlier granted the couple’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) which expired Thursday, May 8. The preliminary injunction won’t expire. The court found that the plaintiffs have a likelihood of success on the merits of the case, even under the most lenient rational basis review standard: “The court is not persuaded that, at this stage, Indiana’s anti-recognition law will suffer a different fate than those around the country. Thus, the Plaintiffs have shown that they have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their equal protection challenge, even under a rational basis standard of review.”

Lambda Legal, who filed the case, Baskin v. Bogan, issued a press release, reading in part:

“We are relieved and happy to send our congratulations and best wishes to Amy, Niki and their family. We applaud their courage and commitment to each other and to equality as they fight Niki’s illness,” said Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “And while this family is experiencing urgent, life-threatening medical circumstances, they’re just one of the thousands of same-sex couples in Indiana enduring real financial and dignitary harm due to the State’s discriminatory marriage ban. Our work in Indiana is not done. All same-sex couples in Indiana need the security only marriage provides.”

Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler have been in a loving and committed relationship for 13 years, and they have two children, ages 3 and 1. Almost five years ago, Ms. Quasney was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, having more than 100 tumors removed surgically in 2009, followed by years of chemotherapy. They have a civil union in Illinois and were married in Massachusetts in 2013 but need their marriage to be legally recognized in Indiana to receive the full protections that every other married family in Indiana receives.

The case, Baskin v. Bogan, was filed by Lambda Legal on March 10th in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Indiana. Lambda Legal asked that Ms. Sandler and Ms. Quasney’s request be heard on an emergency basis due to Ms. Quasney’s medical circumstances.

On May 2, Lambda Legal argued in court, seeking to compel the state of Indiana to continue to recognize Ms. Sandler and Ms. Quasney’s marriage beyond the May 8th expiration date of the TRO. In the same court hearing, Lambda Legal also presented a Motion for Summary Judgment, seeking to have Indiana grant the freedom to marry to all Indiana same-sex couples. Today’s decision affects only Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler’s marriage, with a ruling on the motion for Summary Judgment yet to come.

“We are so relieved. 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,” said Niki Quasney.

There was no stay issued with the injunction and there’s no word on whether there will be an appeal.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

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


  • 1. DaveM  |  May 9, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Yeah, that's the problem/difference between a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order – injunctions are appealable.
    Indiana couldn't stay the TRO forcing recognition – but they can try to stay the PI. Will be interesting to see whether the 7CA/SCOTUS takes up the stay, as this is narrowly constructed to just one couple.

  • 2. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Yeah, clearly the district court is going to deny the stay request. So the 7th is next. But since this is not an "emergency" request such as Utah's or Michigan's, it might take a while for briefing to be complete and an order to be issued on the stay – Just like the stay in the Tennessee preliminary injunction took a while to be issued.

    I'm frequently hitting refresh on the docket page for the Arkansas case. A ruling is expected any time now from Judge Chris Piazza of the Pulaski Circuit Court:

  • 3. DaveM  |  May 9, 2014 at 8:54 am

    >I'm frequently hitting refresh
    Ha, you too? Also tempted to call up Summer McCoy (clerk) and ask her if and when the Judge's order will be handed down.

  • 4. Michael Grabow  |  May 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Really keeping us waiting here…

  • 5. DaveM  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    One of Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's staff members said Thursday that she thought a release of his decision in the marriage lawsuit was possible by 2 p.m. today. Hasn't happened. Cheryl Maples, attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage and recognition of marriages of couples married legally elsewhere, said she's heard the decision might not be filed until after 5 p.m. We're standing by.

  • 6. DaveM  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    UPDATE: Release set for 5 p.m. (Central)

  • 7. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Summer McCoy has confirmed that the ruling will come down AT 5pm. I followed your idea and called her and left a voicemail and she just called me back!

  • 8. Michael Grabow  |  May 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

    The state should be more concerned about their own false hopes.

  • 9. StraightDave  |  May 9, 2014 at 9:20 am

    "The Indiana attorney general's office said in court documents that recognition of the couple's marriage now could raise false hopes for others because courts might eventually uphold the state's gay marriage ban."

    And we shouldn't free Dred Scott because that might raise false hopes for other slaves.

    If Indiana was so darned concerned about others' disappointment, then maybe they shouldn't be working so hard trying to insure those hopes do become false.

  • 10. Background Gal  |  May 9, 2014 at 10:40 am

    They believe in equality. All gays should be equally disappointed, and Indiana will work tirelessly to see to it.

  • 11. StraightDave  |  May 9, 2014 at 10:56 am

    The style of Green Bay Packers legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, according to one of his players….
    "The coach is very fair. He treats us all equally. He treats us all like dogs."

  • 12. Steve  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Of course it's all fake concern. Those kinds of arguments are the worst ones. They really need to stop pretending that they care.

  • 13. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Not a nice reputation for Wisconsin's Walker Administration or this Federal Judge. Glad that Wisconsin's Wolf case is not before him:

  • 14. Corey from Maryland  |  May 9, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Isn't a ruling in Arkansas due today?

  • 15. Fr. Bill  |  May 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Yes, that is what the Judge said. Maybe he will hit the send button on the way to the parking lot.

  • 16. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Nothing so far. It looks like he's going to strike down the ban, but it'd be interesting to see if there's a stay or not. If not, couples can potentially start getting married (at least in Pulaski County, if not statewide), unless the Arkansas Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court steps in.

  • 17. Bruno71  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I haven't been following this case very closely, what specifically has made it look like he's going to strike down the ban? I was thinking if we can win in a state court where there's a constitutional ban, we can win anywhere.

  • 18. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    His background and how oral arguments went.

  • 19. Michael Grabow  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    On Friday, April 16, 2010, Judge Piazza determined that 2008's Initiative 1, the Ban on Unmarried Couples Adopting, infringed on the right of privacy, and overturned it.

    In his decision, Piazza wrote,

    "Due process and equal protection are not hollow words without substance. They are rights enumerated in our constitution that must not be construed in such a way as to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people."

  • 20. Bruno71  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Running unopposed can't hurt.

  • 21. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    His decision was also unanimously upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

  • 22. Andrew  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    It's Arkansas – he may want to be on his way to a safe-house before the ruling is posted.

  • 23. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Yeah, it's become somewhat of a practice to issue rulings without stays on Fridays – Shelby in Kitchen, Friedman in DeBoer, Trauger in Tanco, etc. It's almost as if they want some weekend drama 🙂 He is bound by SCOTUS's stay in Kitchen though, so if he's like Friedman, he could boldly release an opinion without a stay.

  • 24. Big Rick  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Do you mean that he "isn't" bound by SCOTUS's stay in Kitchen? If he is bound by that, then he would stay his ruling, would he not?

  • 25. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    No, he is. (SCOTUS binds all state courts on federal questions.) So was Friedman. But he still ignored the stay request!

  • 26. chad  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I don't think a stay in another case can bind a Judge in a different case. Yes, it's the same issue, but different case, different jurisdicition. He doesn't need to issue a stay. SCOTUS can of course grant a stay if the stay denial is refused, but this Judge does not have to stay his decision.

  • 27. Kevin  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Stays do not have precedential effect. They're not 'law.'

  • 28. sam  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    That was my understanding too. Other courts have stayed their rulings based on their interpretation of what SCOTUS was doing in issuing a stay, but they are not bound by it.

  • 29. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I guess you're right. If they were binding, then Friedman ought to have issued the stay in Michigan, but he didn't. But it's definitely persuasive.

  • 30. Kevin  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    It's neither binding authority nor persuasive authority, because it's not authority at all. It's a simple judicial order.

  • 31. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Perhaps not persuasive authority in the formal sense, but definitely persuasive, to the judges, I mean. But I tried to search for some authoritative document or website online to verify whether Supreme Court orders on stays are "authority" and couldn't find any. Can you provide some reference towards your claim? The LSU Law School website says "the decisions of the United States Supreme Court are mandatory authority in all courts, federal and state, when the decisions cover points of federal law." Just going by this, the Supreme Court did make a "decision" in the dictionary-sense of the word to grant the Kitchen stay, which was based on federal law. Perhaps "decision" has a different legal meaning?

  • 32. Kevin  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    It's not an order on a stay. It's a stay. It's a one-line order. The website to which you refer says "decisions." A stay is not a decision. You've already provided your own example above, so…

  • 33. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Of course it is an order. It is an order granting the application for stay; see here:

    So the Court "decided" to grant the application for stay. What I am not clear is whether the legal term "decision" has a different meaning and doesn't apply to everything that is decided (dictionary term). If this doesn't qualify as a "decision" in legal terms, can I find the legal definition of "decision" somewhere online?

  • 34. Kevin  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    I've practiced for years and am familiar but thanks for the link. Think of the decision as all of the text that precedes an order in a traditional opinion. You usually see a syllabus, then blah blah blah, then something like "the decision below is REVERSED, then concurring opinions and dissents. The blah blah blah is the binding law. THAT is what courts have to adhere to and apply.

  • 35. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Oh I see. Thanks for the clarification. That's what I was confused about. So there is a difference between "order" and "decision". Okay.

  • 36. Mike in Baltimore  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Have you tried the online 'legal dictionary' (

  • 37. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    This is a great resource, thanks! I've bookmarked it!

  • 38. Stefan  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    He's not bound by the US Supreme Court at all since this is in state court. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the state denies staying the ruling, given how they ruled unanimously on the adoption ban.

  • 39. sam  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    It still amazes me to learn that a ruling like that came down four years ago, let alone was upheld unanimously.

  • 40. Bruno71  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    State courts are bound by SCOTUS if there is a federal question. They are not bound by federal circuit appeals courts, however.

  • 41. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Yeah, what Bruno said. He is bound by SCOTUS when it concerns decisions that involve federal questions. But like others have pointed out above, one-line stay orders don't count as "decisions", legally.

  • 42. Chris M.  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I suspect he is pulling a Friedman. Issue the ruling without a stay, and let a few lucky couples get married while the appeals court is away for the weekend.

  • 43. Rik  |  May 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    WHAT THE HELL, ARKANSAS.. hurry up!!

  • 44. sfbob  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Per DaveM above the decision should be released 52 minutes from now, at 5 pm CDT.

  • 45. Rik  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you! I hadn't seen that

  • 46. Jae  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Sounds like they are waiting so no one can rush to the Clerks office . Any one know if theirs a waiting period or anything like that?

  • 47. sam  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    No waiting period apparently.

  • 48. Rik  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I hope people are lined up at the office waiting to go for it the second the ruling comes down

  • 49. Louisiana4Marriage  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    The way this one is coming in feels way too contrived- I hope I'm wrong.

  • 50. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    The decision seems to be ready already. They are waiting to release it EXACTLY at 5pm. I can't think of any reason why they are doing it, other than to avoid a rush of couples wanting to get married before 5pm. This points to a positive decision striking down the ban, without a stay. Let's see.

  • 51. Michael Grabow  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:57 pm


  • 52. Michael Grabow  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm


  • 53. Michael Grabow  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    From the site linked above:

  • 54. Ragavendran  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Full PDF:

  • 55. sam  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm



  • 56. sam  |  May 9, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    "It has been over forty years since Mildred Loving was given the right to
    marry the person of her choice. The hatred and fears have long since vanished and
    she and her husband lived full lives together; so it will be for the same-sex couples.
    It is time to let that beacon of freedom shine brighter on all our brothers and sisters.
    We will be stronger for it"

  • 57. JayJonson  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Wow! Is this a quotation from Judge Piazza? Truly inspiring.

  • 58. sam  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Yes, the final words of the order.

  • 59. Bruno71  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    "Defendants contend that the Eighth Circuit decision in Citizens for Equal
    Protection v. Bruning is dispositive of this issue because it
    upheld a Nebraska constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. However, both the
    Donaldson and Bruning decisions predate Windsor" Is this the first recent case to address the Bruning ruling?

  • 60. TKinSC  |  May 10, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for posting this mention of Bruning. It's the first that I'm aware of.

  • 61. sam  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    No mention of a stay it seems.

  • 62. Rik  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    He used intermediate scrutiny

  • 63. Rik  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    but said it would not even survive rational basis!

  • 64. Rik  |  May 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Regardless of the level of review required, Arkansas's mariage laws
    discriminate against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause
    because they do not advance any conceivable legitimate state interest necessary to
    support even a rational basis review. Under this standard, the laws must proscribe
    conduct in a manner that is rationally related to the achievement of a legitimate
    governmental purpose. See Vance v. Bradley,440 U.S. 93,97 (L979). "[S]ome
    objectives … are not legitimate state interests" and, even when a law is justified by
    an ostensibly legitimate pu{pose, "[t]he State may not rely on a classification
    whose relationship to an asserted goal is so attenuated as to render the distinction
    arbitrary or irrational ." Cleburne,473 U.S. at 44647.
    At the most basic level, by requiring that classifications be justified by an
    independent and legitimate pu{pose, the Equal Protection Clause prohibits
    classifications from being drawn for "the purpose of disadvantaging the group
    burdened by the law." Romer, 517 U.S. at 633; see also United States v. Windsor,
    570 U.S. —, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013); Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 450; Rational basis
    review is a deferential standard, but it "is not a toothless one". Mathevts v. Lucas,
    427 U.5.495,510 (1976)

  • 65. StraightDave  |  May 9, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Remember all the griping last year about how stupid it was to go after Arkansas, in state court, no less? Waste of time and money, sure loser, just gives the haters some oxygen and something to crow about, interrupts our wining streak, etc. Oh yeah, that.

    Now what judge is gonna be brave/foolish enough to lie down in front of that speeding train? It gets harder and harder every month.

    perc, perc, perc, perc, perc, perc, perc, perc, perc, perc, perc, perc,

  • 66. Margo Schulter  |  May 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    This is something I posted on at greater length in the new Arkansas thread, but Judge Piazza’s decision as I read it is independently based on the Arkansas Constitution, and if so, unreviewable by any federal court, so that a federal stay wouldn’t apply. Michigan v. Long (1983) may be the most relevant authority on when a state decision may be reviewable.

  • 67. Margo Schulter  |  May 11, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Unlike a decision of SCOTUS, a stay order is rather opaque: it says on its face simply that in this specific case, the Court found it appropriate to issue a stay. We can guess that in Kitchen v. Herbert, maybe there were four justices ready to grant cert. (a not unlikely proposition), or that SCOTUS wanted to put the brake on Utah same-sex marriages at least until the Tenth Circuit had its say.

    By the same logic, Judge Friedman in Michigan didn’t go against Supreme Court precedent in declining to issue a stay; but the Sixth Circuit very likely drew the conclusion that the case was similarly situated to Kitchen v. Herbert, and a stay was warranted. There are possible distinctions, like the full District Court trial in Michigan as opposed to a summary judgment; but the Sixth Circuit was evidently prudent to take a hint from Kitchen.

  • 68. Equality On TrialSeventh &hellip  |  August 7, 2014 at 1:21 am

    […] couple had previously gotten an order from a district court judge requiring recognition, but after the district court struck […]

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