Lambda Legal Seeks Immediate Recognition of Marriage for Terminally Ill Woman and Her Wife in Indiana
(Indianapolis, IN, March 31, 2014) — Today, Lambda Legal asked a federal court to order the State of Indiana to recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple in Munster. Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney and their two children seek immediate relief from Indiana’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples as Ms. Quasney was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and cannot wait any longer for the protections of marriage.
“Every day that Indiana denies Amy, Niki and their two children the protections of marriage is cruel and discriminatory against a family whose time together is precious,” said Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “This family shouldn’t have to endure discrimination from the State of Indiana while fighting to enjoy the time they have left together as a family dealing with a terminal illness.”
Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler have been in a loving and committed relationship for 13 years, and they have two children under the age of three. Ms. Quasney was diagnosed in 2009 with ovarian cancer, having more than 100 tumors removed in surgery days later. Two additional surgeries and aggressive chemotherapy treatment followed. They have a civil union in Illinois and married in Massachusetts in 2013 but need their marriage to be legally recognized in Indiana to receive the protections and security that every other married family in Indiana receives. These include the ability to access federal and state safety nets for surviving spouses and their children, and the right to a death certificate that accurately reflects their marriage. Further, Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler frequently travel far from their home to receive medical treatment as a result of their prior experience with the local hospital suggesting it would defer to state law to determine whether a couple is married.
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. Today’s filings add Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney of Munster Indiana, and Henry Greene, Glenn Funkhouser and their son of Carmel, Indiana as plaintiffs. Lambda Legal has asked that Niki’s and Amy’s claims now be heard on an emergency basis.
“I will forever be grateful for every moment I and our kids have with Niki,” said Amy Sandler. “The need for our marriage to be recognized so that we can safeguard our family has become incredibly urgent for all of us.”
Read more about the families and the case here: http://www.lambdalegal.org/take-action/love-unites-us/indiana
Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney, and Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project Director, are handling the case Baskin v. Bogan for Lambda Legal. They are joined by Barbara Baird of the Law Office of Barbara J. Baird in Indianapolis as well as Jordan Heinz, Brent Ray, Melanie MacKay, Dmitriy Tishyevich and Robyn English of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago and New York.