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Munster couple asks that their   marriage be recognized in Indiana

NIki Quasney (left) Amy Sandler joined lawsuit overturn Indiana's ban same-sex marraige. | File photo

NIki Quasney (left) and Amy Sandler joined a lawsuit to overturn Indiana's ban on same-sex marraige. | File photo

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Updated: July 1, 2014 9:05PM



A Munster lesbian couple are back in court, once again asking that their marriage be recognized in Indiana on an emergency basis due to an illness while the court decides whether the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Attorneys with Lambda Legal on Monday filed papers with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on behalf of Niki Quasney, 38, and Amy Sandler, 37. Quasney is battling Stage IV ovarian cancer.

The couple, who were legally married in Massachusetts, were granted emergency relief in April by a trial court. That relief was no longer in effect as of Friday, however, when the Appeals Court issued a stay to U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young’s ruling that Indiana’s prohibition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The stay, which was sought by the Indiana attorney general’s office, also put in limbo the marriages of same-sex couples that had taken place throughout the state in the two days between Young’s ruling and the stay, and prevented future marriages of same-sex couples from taking place.

The attorney general’s office argued it was premature to require Indiana to change its definition of marriage until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the issue as is widely expected.

“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,” said Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project director for Lambda Legal.

“Their marriage doesn’t harm anyone in Indiana, it simply protects them and their children,” Taylor said.

Neither Quasney nor Sandler could be immediately reached Monday.

Paul Castillo, an attorney with Lambda Legal, said he was hoping for a quick response to this most recent request from the Appeals Court. Meanwhile, he said the national firm that represents gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people, will move forward as expeditiously as possible to seek the freedom for all same-sex couples to marry under its lawsuit, Baskin vs. Bogan.

“We all saw last week how incredibly important it is for these couples to be married,” Castillo said.

Lambda Legal filed Baskin vs. Bogan on March 10 in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana. The firm later filed a motion seeking immediate relief for Quasney, Sandler and their two children, ages 3 and 1. Quasney was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost five years ago. She had more than 100 tumors removed surgically in 2009, and has since gone through years of chemotherapy.

The couple have a civil union in Illinois and were married in Massachusetts in 2013, but need their marriage legally recognized in Indiana to receive the full protections that every other married family in Indiana receives.



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