A federal judge on Thursday extended a
previous ruling ordering Indiana officials to recognize the marriage
of a terminally ill lesbian.
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young
handed down his ruling roughly a week after holding a hearing in his
Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, who
married last year in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize such
unions nearly a decade ago, recently joined one of five lawsuits
challenging the constitutionality of Indiana's ban on gay marriage.
The couple asked Young to order the state to recognize their marriage
so that Quasney, who has stage 4 ovarian cancer, can be listed as
married on her anticipated death certificate and Sandler listed as
her surviving spouse. Young issued a 28-day temporary restraining
order on April 10.
“[T]he State of Indiana must
recognize their marriage,” Young wrote in Thursday's 14-page order.
“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
The state argued that current law does
not allow for hardship exceptions.
Young's order remains in effect until
he renders a final judgment in the case.
Young also suggested he was likely to
rule in favor of the plaintiffs: “Currently, all federal district
court cases decided post-Windsor indicate that Plaintiffs are
likely to prevail.”
The women have been together 13 years
and are raising two daughters, ages 1 and 2.
the order provided by Equality