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Judge grants temporary restraining order in same-sex marriage suit

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A same-sex couple’s plea that Indiana recognize their marriage was granted Thursday by a federal judge in Evansville, a significant ruling in one of the five separate lawsuits that are challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Chief Judge Richard Young issued a temporary restraining order, instructing the Indiana State Department of Health on how it should issue a death certificate in the future regarding the same-sex couple Nikole Quasney and Amy Sandler.

The order is in effect until May 8. Before that date, a preliminary injunction hearing will be scheduled to hear arguments on the plaintiffs’ request to extend the order indefinitely.

Lambda Legal, a national organization, had filed a motion March 31 for emergency relief on behalf of Quasney, who has stage IV ovarian cancer; her wife, Sandler; and their two young children. The couple asked the court for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction prohibiting Indiana from enforcing the state’s marriage ban as it applies to them.

Quasney and Sandler have a civil union in Illinois and were legally married in Massachusetts in 2013. They fear if Quasney dies without Indiana recognizing their marriage, she will not be allowed to have Sandler by her side at the hospital and Sandler will not be eligible for surviving spousal benefits.

Lambda Legal, which advocates for the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV, heralded the ruling as a victory.

“We’re greatly relieved for Amy, Niki and their two young children,” said Paul Castillo, staff attorney for Lambda Legal. “They are a loving family coping with a terminal illness. The State of Indiana has no justification for denying them dignity, legitimacy and respect as a family during this inexpressibly difficult time.”

The Indiana Attorney General’s Office emphasized the limited scope of Young’s ruling, applying only to Quasney and Sandler. It does not apply to the other plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Quasney and Sandler are plaintiffs in the suit Baskin v. Bogan, 1:14-CV-355, which was filed by Lambda Legal March 10.

Solicitor General Thomas Fisher of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office argued Thursday that under current law, the state’s marriage statute does not allow for hardships exceptions. He maintained the relief the plaintiffs are seeking should not be granted.  

“We are so relieved. We are so thankful that we can move forward and concentrate on being with each other,” Quasney said.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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