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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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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