Same-sex couple’s bid for recognition expedited due to grave illness

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The chief federal judge in Indianapolis quickly summoned lawyers to address a same-sex couple’s emergency request that Indiana recognize their Massachusetts marriage because one of the women is gravely ill.

Nikole Rai Quasney and Amy Melissa Sandler of Munster on Monday asked for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would enjoin the state from enforcing laws against same-sex marriage. The couple requested an expedited hearing because Quasney, mother of two young children, has stage IV ovarian cancer.

“Because of this aggressive cancer, Niki measures the rest of her life in weeks, not years,” a brief in support of the request says.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young of the Southern District of Indiana on Tuesday summoned attorneys for a telephone conference set for 2 p.m. Friday. Young advised them to be prepared to address the request for an injunction and temporary restraining order.

Quasney and Sandler also seek a court order that, in the event of Quasney’s death, the Indiana Department of Health be required to complete a death certificate listing her as married, with Sandler recorded as the surviving spouse.

Continued enforcement of the ban, the supporting brief argues, “will cause grave harm to a loving couple confronted with an impending tragic loss. The public simply has no interest in denying Amy the rights she is entitled to as a surviving spouse upon Niki’s death.”

The couple is one three who sued the state March 10 backed by the national organization Lambda Legal. The case is Baskin et al. v. Bogan et al., 1:14-cv-00355, and names as defendants the clerks of Boone, Porter and Lake counties, along with Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

Zoeller has vowed to defend Indiana’s prohibition on same-sex marriage in at least four cases to date, including Baskin, that seek to overturn Indiana’s ban in federal court.

Young presides in all the cases. He has also set a phone conference on Friday for scheduling purposes in the related matters.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?