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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. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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