Victory! Indiana Federal Court Again Orders Recognition of Marriage for Woman Fighting Cancer and Her Wife
(Evansville, IN, May 8, 2014) — Today, a federal court in Indiana again ordered the state to recognize the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney. Lambda Legal won an emergency order for the couple in April which was set to expire on May 8 — today’s decision extends the requirement of the state to recognize their marriage throughout the court proceedings.
“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. “And 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.”
Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler have been in a loving and committed relationship for 13 years, and they have two children, ages 3 and 1. Almost five years ago, Ms. Quasney was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, having more than 100 tumors removed surgically in 2009, followed by years of chemotherapy. They have a civil union in Illinois and were married in Massachusetts in 2013 but need their marriage to be legally recognized in Indiana to receive the full protections that every other married family in Indiana receives.
The case, Baskin v. Bogan, was filed by Lambda Legal on March 10th in the United States District Court in the Southern District of Indiana. Lambda Legal asked that Ms. Sandler and Ms. Quasney’s request be heard on an emergency basis due to Ms. Quasney’s medical circumstances.
On May 2, Lambda Legal argued in court, seeking to compel the state of Indiana to continue to recognize Ms. Sandler and Ms. Quasney’s marriage beyond the May 8th expiration date of the TRO. In the same court hearing, Lambda Legal also presented a Motion for Summary Judgment, seeking to have Indiana grant the freedom to marry to all Indiana same-sex couples. Today’s decision affects only Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler’s marriage, with a ruling on the motion for Summary Judgment yet to come.
“We are so 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,” said Niki Quasney.
Read more about the families and the case here: http://www.lambdalegal.org/take-action/love-unites-us/indiana
Paul Castillo, along with Lambda Legal Marriage Project Director Camilla Taylor, are joined by Barbara Baird of the Law Office of Barbara J. Baird in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Jordan Heinz, Brent Ray, and Dmitriy Tishyevich of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.