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Same-sex couple facing terminal illness files emergency motion with 7th Circuit

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The couple who won an initial battle to have their same-sex marriage recognized – a case that foreshadowed the overturning of Indiana’s marriage law last week – is now fighting the emergency stay granted June 27 by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lambda Legal, a national gay-rights organization, has filed an emergency motion with the 7th Circuit to keep in place an earlier order that recognized the marriage of Indiana residents Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler. This couple turned to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for an emergency order in April because Quasney is terminally ill and wanted to be able to list Sandler as her spouse on a future death certificate.

The 7th Circuit’s order issued late last week, staying the June 25 ruling by the U.S. District Court that found Indiana’s marriage law unconstitutional, included preventing the state from recognizing Quasney and Sandler’s Massachusetts marriage.

Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, is asking Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller to not oppose this motion.

“This is one family in all of Indiana that is undergoing tremendous stress while they courageously fight Ms. Quasney’s stage four ovarian cancer,” Taylor said in a press release. “Their marriage doesn’t harm anyone in Indiana, it simply protects them and their children.”

Lamba Legal filed Baskin v. Bogan, 1:140-cv-0355 in March which was one of five challenges to Indiana’ ban on same-sex marriage. The organization later filed a motion seeking immediate relief for Quasney, Sandler and their two children because of Quasney’s serious health situation.

The state filed a motion to stay the recognition of Quasney and Sandler’s marriage, but Young never issued a ruling.

Meanwhile, other same-sex couples are wondering about the current status of their marriages. After Young struck down Indiana’s marriage law June 25, many gays and lesbians raced to their county clerks’ offices to get married, but the stay issued by the 7th Circuit has put those marriages in legal limbo.

“Our position is these are valid marriages,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. “It would be unprecedented for the state to take the position that even though these marriages were valid at the time they were entered into, they are no longer valid.”

Paul Castillo, Lambda Legal attorney, echoed Falk in saying the marriages performed during the window between Young’s decision and the 7th Circuit stay were still valid.

However, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s Office said the question of validity has not been determined and might have to be decided by a court at a later time.

Castillo said the validity question has been answered in federal court. After a stay was granted in the ruling that found Utah’s marriage law violated the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah ruled in the separate case of Evans v. Utah that vows exchanged during the window in the beehive state were still valid.

Utah has filed a motion to stay that decision.

Despite questions at the state level, Indiana same-sex couples who were married after Young’s decision may get recognition from the federal government. Castillo pointed out when a marriage law has been overturned in other states, the U.S. government has considered those marriages as valid even while a stay is in place.  

 

 

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

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  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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