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Indiana argues same-sex marriage of terminally ill woman should not be recognized

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While conceding the same-sex marriage lawsuit involving a terminally ill Indiana woman would warrant an exception, the Indiana attorney general maintained no legal exception has been found and the marriage should not be recognized by the state.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office filed its response to an emergency motion which asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift its stay for only two plaintiffs, Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler.  

Lambda Legal, a national gay rights organization that filed one of the five challenges to Indiana’s marriage law, submitted the emergency motion June 30. Quasney, who is terminally ill with Stage IV ovarian cancer, wants the state to recognize Sandler as her spouse.

The emergency motion was filed in response to the 7th Circuit staying a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana that overturned Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The 7th Circuit expedited the matter, giving the state until noon July 1 to file a response to Lambda Legal’s motion. The court ordered the state to submit its briefs by July 15 and the plaintiffs to turn in their briefs by July 29.

The Circuit Court stated extensions of time will not be granted except in extraordinary circumstances.

The Indiana attorney general argued the state’s marriage statute allows for no hardship exceptions. Therefore, the ban on same-sex marriage should remain in place while the District Court’s ruling is being appealed.

However, the attorney general did hint if the Circuit Court found an exception, the state would not offer any opposition.  

“Indeed, mindful that this request involves just one couple in very narrow and sympathetic circumstances, and that it is not merely the Court and parties but the general public that is watching this case, the State has extensively researched this matter but can find no provision within our legal system that would allow for some extraordinary relief, or humanitarian exception to the rule of law that would grant what the petitioners request,” the attorney general’s response stated. “If this Court can find such an exception that would apply, this circumstance surely warrants its use.”

Lambda Legal was outraged at the state’s response.   

“Attorney General Zoeller’s callous disregard for this family’s circumstances is heartless, cruel and unbecoming of a public official charged with representing the interests of all Hoosiers,” said Camilla Taylor, marriage project director at Lambda Legal. “He is taking steps that no other attorney general anywhere in the country has in fighting to deny respect to the marriage of only one couple facing very significant health issues.”



 
 

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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