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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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