Judge: Ind. must recognize gay couple's marriage

EVANSVILLE, Ind. - A federal judge is set to hear arguments from a same-sex couple hoping to have their marriage recognized in Indiana before one of the women, who has cancer, dies.

UPDATE: Judge Young ruled in favor of the couple, ordering Indiana to recognize the marriage.

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler are seeking a temporary restraining order requiring Indiana to recognize their 2013 marriage in Massachusetts, one of 17 states where gay marriage is legal.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young in Evansville will hear the arguments Thursday over whether to grant a restraining order to the couple before one spouse dies of ovarian cancer.

Quasney has stage 4 ovarian cancer and the Munster, Ind., couple wants Young to order the state to recognize their marriage in Quasney's anticipated death certificate. The couple recently joined a lawsuit challenging Indiana's marriage law that was filed last month by Lambda Legal, a national gay rights group.

A spokesman for the Indiana attorney general's office says lawyers for the state will present arguments defending the state's ban on gay marriage.

The two women were married in Massachusetts last year. Their case is one of five in Young's court challenging Indiana's same-sex marriage ban.

In their federal complaint, the women argue that Indiana's marriage law "encourages and invites private bias and discrimination, including in medical settings."

Quasney and Sandler have been together 13 years and have two daughters, ages 1 and 2, conceived through "reproductive technology" and birthed by Sandler, according to their brief, which was filed Monday.

They argue that the court should grant a restraining order for the couple because "they have an urgent need to have their marriage recognized" due to Quasney's terminal illness.

"When Niki dies, Amy will receive a death certificate from the State that records Niki as unmarried — which will interfere with Amy's ability to take care of Niki's affairs after her death, and to access the safety net generally available to a surviving spouse and a decedent's children," the brief said.

Although Indiana's Legislature did not send a proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to a referendum this year, the state already bars gay marriage under a statue defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

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