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Court hears arguments in same-sex marriage case

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A same-sex couple  fighting to have Indiana recognize their marriage returned to court Friday to convince a judge the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana heard arguments May 2 on pending motions in Baskin et al. v. Bogan et al., 1:14-cv-0355. Lambda Legal argued on behalf of the plaintiffs and Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher argued the state’s case.

On April 10, Young granted a temporary restraining order requiring the state to acknowledge the marriage of two of the plaintiffs, Nikole Quasney and Amy Sandler. The women made an emotional appeal to the court to make the state recognize their marriage before Quasney loses her battle with stage IV ovarian cancer.

Young’s TRO instructed the Indiana State Department of Health to list Sandler as the spouse on any future death certificate for Quasney.  

After today’s arguments in the Winfield K. Denton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Evansville, Young took under advisement the motions for summary judgment. He will rule at a later date.

Lawsuits challenging state bans on same-sex marriage have been filed across the country ever since the U.S. Supreme Court knocked down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in U.S. v. Windsor. Five lawsuits have been filed in Indiana since March.

Today, Fisher argued the Windsor decision left intact the authority of states and their legislatures to define marriage. Therefore, he contends, Indiana can legislate marriage as being between one man and one woman and can legally choose to not recognize same-sex unions granted in other states.
 

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