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Court rules Indiana must recognize couple’s same-sex marriage

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Indiana must recognize the same-sex marriage of two women wed in Massachusetts, one of whom is gravely ill, a federal judge ruled Thursday. The state said it will appeal the narrow but historic ruling.

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler are the first same-sex couple granted legal recognition by the state of Indiana under the order issued by Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.

“The court finds that the Plaintiffs, Amy, Niki, (and children) A.Q-S., and M.Q.-S., have satisfied their burden for a preliminary injunction. They have shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm with no adequate remedy at law, that the public interest is in favor of the relief, and the balance of harm weighs in their favor,” Young wrote.

“Therefore, the court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. … Defendants and all those acting in concert are enjoined from enforcing Indiana statute § 31-11-1-1(b) against recognition of Plaintiffs’, Niki Quasney’s and Amy Sandler’s, valid out-of-state marriage; the State of Indiana must recognize their marriage,” the order states.

The opinion also orders the Indiana Department of Health to record Quasney as married and Sandler as surviving spouse on a death certificate if Quasney dies in Indiana. Quasney has been diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer, according to the record.  

“We are relieved and happy to send our congratulations and best wishes to Amy, Niki and their family. We applaud their courage and commitment to each other and to equality as they fight Niki’s illness,” said Paul Castillo, staff attorney for Lambda Legal, which represents the couple.

“While this family is experiencing urgent, life-threatening medical circumstances, they’re just one of the thousands of same-sex couples in Indiana enduring real financial and dignitary harm due to the state’s discriminatory marriage ban. Our work in Indiana is not done.  All same-sex couples in Indiana need the security only marriage provides,” Castillo said in a statement.

Quasney and Sandler previously won a temporary restraining order that would have expired Friday. Young concluded his 14-page opinion by stressing its narrowness but also acknowledging the growing recognition of same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court of the United States opinion last year in United States v. Windsor, 134 S.Ct. 2675 (2013).

“(T)he court recognizes that the issues with which it is confronted are highly contentious and provoke strong emotions both in favor and against same-sex marriages. The court’s ruling today is not a final resolution of the merits of the case – it is a preliminary look, or in other words, a best guess by the court as to what the outcome will be,” Young wrote.

“Currently, all federal district court cases decided post-Windsor indicate that Plaintiffs are likely to prevail. Nevertheless, the strength or weakness of Plaintiffs’ case at the time of final dissolution will inevitably be impacted as more courts are presented with this issue,” he wrote.

The state will appeal Thursday’s ruling, according to a statement from the office of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

“The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is notifying county clerks that the federal court’s decision today is limited and applies to one couple in this case only,” spokesman Bryan Corbin said. “County clerks still are prohibited from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Indiana.”

The state argues Indiana’s statute defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman is constitutional and should remain intact.

“The state’s legal defense of the statute notes that the Legislature has the legal authority to determine how marriage shall be defined within Indiana’s borders; and Indiana’s Legislature has chosen in statute to define marriage in the traditional way – between one man and one woman – and to not legally recognize same-sex unions granted in other states,” Corbin said. Windsor, he said, “continues to leave this state policy decision-making authority with states and their legislatures. The judge has the motions under advisement and will rule later.”  

Likewise, plaintiffs in this case have moved for summary judgment.

This case, Baskin, et al. v. Bogan, et al., 1:14-CV-00355, is one of several federal lawsuits challenging Indiana’s marriage statute. The suits were filed this year after the Legislature passed House Joint Resolution 3, a proposed amendment to the Indiana Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage.

In the statement provided by Lambda Legal, Quasney said she and her wife were relieved. “We are so thankful that we can move forward and concentrate on being with each other. Our time together and with our daughters is the most important thing in the world to me. I look forward to the day when all couples in Indiana have the freedom to marry,” Quasney said.
 

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  • Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right
    This is a good thing. To point out how un-Constitutional state gun laws vary from state to state only proves that the laws need to be changed so that they are the same across the board, gun laws and marriage rights included. This is America after all, and people should not be restricted on their freedoms as long as it's not hurting anyone else. And, the last i checked, who someone else is married to does not hurt me or anyone else. People should have the freedom to decide for themselves what is best for them without someone else's interference.
  • Sad Day
    These couples moved here to our state either without research our laws, not caring about our laws or expecting us to change for them. While I sympathize with their medical issues and shortened time frame, I find it very sad that we have to put our laws out to pasture in order to appease them. Other states don't seem to recognize other issues where they disagree with another state, say for example, New York not recognizing gun ownership laws or concealed carry permits from other states and will jail you on the spot for the first infraction, yet the second amendment allows personal gun ownership. It seems like Judge Young just rolled over on this ruling and the citizens of the state are left to pick up the pieces of our values.

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    1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

    2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

    3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

    4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

    5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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