Motion filed to protect Indiana’s 1st gay marriage

(MGN Photo, file)
(MGN Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A national gay rights group filed an emergency request Monday to protect the first same-sex marriage recognized in Indiana now that a federal appeals court has halted a judge’s ruling that overturned the state’s gay marriage ban.

Lawyers from Lambda Legal asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago for the continued recognition of the marriage between Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who is fighting advanced ovarian cancer.

The women, who were legally married in Massachusetts last year, filed a lawsuit seeking to force Indiana to recognize their marriage. They were granted emergency recognition last month while their case proceeded, in part so Sandler’s name could appear on Quasney’s death certificate as her spouse.

“There is no justification whatsoever for depriving this family of the dignity, comfort, and protections of a legally recognized marriage during this already agonizingly difficult time,” Camilla Taylor, Lambda Legal’s marriage project director, said in a statement.

The 7th Circuit ordered the state to respond to Lambda Legal’s emergency motion by midday Tuesday. It also ordered an expedited schedule that calls for parties in the case to file all of their briefs on motions no later than Aug. 5, with oral arguments to be scheduled a short time later.

The filing comes three days after the federal appeals court placed a hold on same-sex marriages in Indiana. U.S. District Judge Richard Young had struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage last week, and hundreds of same-sex couples got married across the state. But Attorney General Greg Zoeller appealed to the 7th Circuit, which put the ruling on hold.

Several lawsuits challenging the state’s ban were filed shortly after lawmakers decided not to send a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage to the ballot in November. The first of the lawsuits was filed by lawyers who successfully challenged Kentucky’s ban on recognition of same-sex marriages performed out of state.

Young’s ruling continued a string of lower-court rulings striking down marriage bans in states across the nation, all of which has some Indiana leaders expecting the Supreme Court to make a final decision on the issue.

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