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Hearing on motion for TRO on marriage statute Thursday

April 7, 2014

The multiple challenges to Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage are picking up steam with the federal court scheduling arguments regarding a temporary restraining order and the state filing a motion to dismiss one of the lawsuits.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will hear arguments this week regarding the motion for a temporary restraining order filed on behalf of one of the same-sex couples in Baskin, et al. v. Bogan, et al.  

Nicole Rai Quasney and Amy Melissa Sandler have asked the court to require Indiana to recognize their marriage performed in Massachusetts. According to court documents, Quasney is battling an aggressive ovarian cancer and wants the state to identify her as “married” on her death certificate as well as specify Sandler as her “surviving spouse.”

After a teleconference April 4 between Young and the attorneys on the motion, the judge scheduled a hearing for 9:30 a.m. CDT Thursday at the federal building in Evansville.

Lambda Legal filed Baskin March 10. Multiple calls Monday to the national organization were not returned.

Also on April 4, the Indiana attorney general filed a motion to dismiss Love, et al. v. Pence, arguing the sole defendant named in the complaint, Gov. Mike Pence, cannot provide any relief.

The Love complaint was filed on behalf of four couples by a team of Kentucky lawyers who successfully challenged Kentucky’s same-sex marriage ban. It was the first challenge filed this year to Indiana’s marriage statute.
 
The state presents two arguments in its motion. First, since the governor does not issue marriage licenses nor perform any function that recognizes marriages solemnized in other states, the District Court lacks jurisdiction under Article III. Second, because the governor does not enforce the state’s marriage statute, sovereign immunity and the 11th Amendment bar the complaint.

The five lawsuits challenging the marriage statute have been assigned to Young.

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