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Couple Wants Emergency Recognition of Marriage Despite Legal Limbo

Lambda Legal

The same sex couple whose marriage was the first recognized in Indiana wants that recognition restored by a federal appeals court.

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, married in Massachusetts last year, are one of the couples who challenged Indiana’s marriage statute.  They also asked for emergency recognition of their marriage because Quasney is terminally ill with ovarian cancer. 

More than two months before federal judge Richard Young ruled the statute unconstitutional for all same sex couples, he ordered the state to recognize Quasney and Sandler’s marriage.  But when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals halted the effect of Young’s ruling last week on the marriage ban as a whole, it also invalidated Young’s emergency recognition of Quasney and Sandler’s union. 

Lambda Legal attorney Paul Castillo, who represents the couple, says the appeals court’s stay is a setback for all same sex couples.

“In the immediate future, however, we also want Amy and Niki’s marriage to continue to be recognized because, for their particular circumstance, they don’t have the luxury of time to wait for court proceedings,” Castillo said.

The Attorney General’s office has said granting Quasney and Sandler special recognition does not fit with Indiana law, which does not have a hardship exception for marriage recognition.  And it notes a death certificate can be changed in the future if the state’s ban on same sex marriage is permanently eliminated.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.