[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana [official website] on Thursday granted an emergency request to force Indiana to immediately recognize a same-sex marriage in a death certificate of a spouse of a couple who wed in another state. The temporary order, which would last 28 days, was requested on behalf of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who wed in Massachusetts. Lawyers for the couple argued that the order was necessary so that Quasney, who is terminally ill, could access federal and state survival benefits for her wife and their children. In his ruling, Judge Richard Young said the couple met the burden for a temporary injunctive of proving the potential of immediate harm and said a reasonable likelihood exists that the couple will win their overall case. The order, which only applies to Sandler and Quasney, cannot be appealed, and a hearing for the preliminary injunction will still be scheduled. The case, Baskin v. Bogan [press release], includes four other couples. The plaintiffs claim that they have experienced harm and discrimination as a result of the ban. Indiana does recognize same-sex civil unions, but these unions do not include some additional rights that come with marriage. seeking to strike down the state’s Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. The act declares same-sex marriages void for purposes of state law, even if they were lawfully solemnized in another state.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the legal community today. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the state of Indiana challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriages and its refusal to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. The lawsuit [complaint, PDF], one of three filed this month in attempts to overturn Indiana’s ban on gay marriage, was filed on behalf of 15 plaintiffs [ACLU profiles], including a widow and two children. In February, The Indiana Senate [official website] approved [JURIST report] a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage in the state.