Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse an Indianapolis federal judge’s ruling requiring the state to recognize the same-sex marriage of two women, one of whom is gravely ill.
Chief Judge Richard Young of the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana on May 8 granted a preliminary injunction preventing the state from enforcing a law barring same-sex marriage, but only for Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler. Young ruled their Massachusetts marriage must be recognized, and ordered that Sandler be recognized as Quasney’s surviving spouse on a death certificate if Quasney dies in Indiana. She has been diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer.
The state has moved for a stay of that order, but Young has yet to rule. The case, Baskin, et al. v. Bogan, et al., 1:14-CV-00355, involves numerous couples and is one of at least five cases pending before Young that challenge Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.
In its brief to the 7th Circuit filed Wednesday, the state argues there is no constitutional right for individuals to have other types of state licenses recognized by other states, according to Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the AG’s office.
The filing argues there is no right “to have a license issued in one state – whether for professional, weapons, driving or marriage purposes – treated as valid by government and courts in another … Otherwise, States would have to recognize and treat as valid one another’s law licenses, medical licenses, concealed-carry gun permits, driver’s licenses, and notary public commissions, just to name a few.”
Numerous states have rejected laws banning same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court of the United States' decision last year in U.S. v. Windsor, but the AG’s office notes, “the Supreme Court has not ruled that states are required to legally recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states.”
In granting the injunction Young wrote of the contentious nature of the issues and cautioned his ruling wasn’t a resolution on the merits of the case but rather “a preliminary look, or in other words, a best guess by the court as to what the outcome will be.
“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.