A federal appeals court on Tuesday ordered Indiana officials to recognize the marriage of a terminally ill lesbian.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ordered the state to recognize the 2013 Massachusetts marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler.

The couple asked the court to order the state to recognize their marriage so Quasney, who has stage 4 ovarian cancer, can be listed as married on her anticipated death certificate and Sandler listed as her surviving spouse.

U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young in April issued a temporary order requiring officials to recognize the couple's marriage. Last week, Young struck down the state's marriage ban as invalid, which led to a rush of gay couples to marry at county clerk offices.

(Related: Federal judge strikes down Indiana's gay marriage ban; Weddings begin.)

Attorney General Greg Zoeller turned to the appeals court to stay Young's broader ruling as the state pursues an appeal. Because these cases had been consolidated, staying Young's decision ordering the state to begin issuing marriage licenses also set aside Young's order directing the state to recognize the couple's marriage.

Zoeller argued for the court to deny the couple's request.

“As human beings, the defendant state officials and their lawyers cannot help but empathize with the plight of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler,” Zoeller wrote in a brief. “All concerned express their sympathy to the couple and their family, and no one doubts the sincerity or personal importance of their appeals to a sense of dignity, pride, and inclusion as reasons for bringing this case and making their motion to this Court. But Indiana marriage law, which both the Supreme Court and this Court have indicated should remain in force during the pendency of same-sex marriage appeals, permits no hardship exceptions for recognition of same-sex marriages. Indeed, mindful that this request involves just one couple in very narrow and sympathetic circumstances, and that it is not merely the Court and parties but the general public that is watching this case, the State has extensively researched this matter but can find no provision within our legal system that would allow for some extraordinary relief, or humanitarian exception to the rule of law that would grant what petitioners request. If this Court can find such an exception that would apply, this circumstance surely warrants its use.”

The appeals court on Tuesday also expedited the appeal in Young's broader ruling.

(Brief provided by Equality Case Files.)