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Thursday, May 08, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Federal judge enjoins Indiana, requiring it to recognize one same-sex couple's out-of-state marriage

Chief Judge Richard L. Young, USDC, SD Ind, issued this 14-page order late this morning in the case of Baskin v. Bogan. Among the plaintiffs in this case are Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who had asked Judge Young that the Court, with respect to them, act in an expedited manner because Niki's death is imminent. The Court had granted them a TRO, which expires today. Today, the Court granted the two plaintiffs a preliminary injunction, concluding:

The court finds that the Plaintiffs, Amy, Niki, A.Q-S., and M.Q.-S., have satisfied their burden for a preliminary injunction. They have shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm with no adequate remedy at law, that the public interest is in favor of the relief, and the balance of harm weighs in their favor. Therefore, the court GRANTS Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction (Filing No. 31).

Defendants and all those acting in concert are ENJOINED from enforcing Indiana statute § 31-11-1-1(b) against recognition of Plaintiffs’, Niki Quasney’s and Amy Sandler’s, valid out-of-state marriage; the State of Indiana must recognize their marriage. In addition, should Niki pass away in Indiana, the court orders William C. VanNess II, M.D., in his official capacity as the Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health and all those acting in concert, to issue a death certificate that records her marital status as “married” and lists Plaintiff Amy Sandler as the “surviving spouse.” This order shall require that Defendant VanNess issue directives to local health departments, funeral homes, physicians, coroners, medical examiners, and others who may assist with the completion of said death certificate explaining their duties under the order of this court. This preliminary injunction will remain in force until the court renders judgment on the merits of the Plaintiffs’ claims.

In conclusion, the court recognizes that the issues with which it is confronted are highly contentious and provoke strong emotions both in favor and against same-sex marriages. The court’s ruling today is not a final resolution of the merits of the case – it is 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.

SO ORDERED this 8th day of May 2014.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 8, 2014 02:14 PM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions