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Monday, May 05, 2014
Ind. Courts - More on "Hearings [last] Friday to consider state’s same-sex marriage ban"
EVANSVILLE — Indiana will be required to recognize the out-of-state marriage of a lesbian couple from Munster at least a few days more as a federal judge considers whether the state must continue to acknowledge the union, and whether the state’s ban on same-sex marriages should be abolished. * * *From Tim Evans' May 2nd story in the Indianapolis Star:
Bonnie Everly, of Chesterton, who drove to Evansville to attend the hearing with her partner Lyn Judkins, said the judge said he would have a decision within a week on the Munster couple’s case. Young didn’t say when he’d rule on the state ban, but Everly was upbeat. * * *
Attorneys also requested that the state recognize the 2013 Massachusetts marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, both 37, of Munster. Quasney is terminally ill with advanced ovarian cancer, and the couple fear Sandler’s ability to collect Social Security and other death benefits would be harmed if their marriage isn’t recognized.
Young granted the couple a temporary restraining order last month. It expires Thursday.
Attorneys for the state say there are other legal ways for Sandler to obtain property benefits after Quasney dies.
Indiana law defines marriage as between one man and one woman. The state does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions conducted in other states.
Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher said Friday that the law does not allow for a hardship exception. He said a death certificate could be amended at a later date.
While Young promised Friday to rule soon, the reality is his verdict will not end the contentious legal dispute.
Both sides have made it clear that, if Young does not rule in their favor, they will appeal his decision to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That challenge would join a raft of federal court rulings nationally — all, so far, in support of same-sex marriage — that are being appealed, and appear to be pushing the issue closer to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In those other cases now being appealed, the district judges have typically “stayed” their orders overturning state same-sex marriage bans. That means the laws, even though they have been ruled unconstitutional, remain in effect during the appeal.
It’s not clear how Young will rule, though in a decision last month to temporarily grant recognition of a lesbian couple’s marriage, the judge hinted that the couple were likely to succeed in having Indiana’s gay marriage ban declared unconstitutional.
Young also took under advisement Friday a request to extend indefinitely the temporary restraining order he issued April 10 that directs the state to recognize the marriage of Nikole Quasney and Amy Sandler, who wed in Massachusetts. That temporary order, granted in part because one of the women is dealing with a terminal illness, expires May 8.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 5, 2014 11:01 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts