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Same-sex marriages (SSM) in Indiana.

Part 3

One couple will have their marriage
recognized, but only on a spouse's
death certificate.
Ruling criticized by evangelical pastor.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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In this essay "LGB" refers to Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals.

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2014-APR-10: One couple in Indiana will have their marriage recognized:

Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney have been together for 13 years. They married during 2013 in Massachusetts. Sandler is the birth mother of their two children -- both daughters -- now aged 1 and 2. Quasney has stage four ovarian cancer which she has been fighting for five years. She is currently terminally ill.

However, Indiana does not recognize same-sex marriages solemnized either within Indiana or within other states. They are regarded as "legal strangers" -- as roommates -- and their relationship was not recognized at all, until this day.

In the complaint that they filed with the District Court in the Southern District of Indiana at Evansville they noted that the state's marriage law:

"... encourages and invites private bias and discrimination, including in medical settings. ... 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." 1

District Court Judge Richard L. Young held a hearing on the couple's request for recognition of their out-of-state marriage. Judge Young issued a 28 day temporary injunction which can be later extended. The intent is so that Sandler will be able to obtain a death certificate for her wife that recognizes the couples' marriage. This will help her to better take care of her wife's assets and their children.

After the temporary restraining order (TRO) was issued, Quasney said:

"We are so thankful that we can move forward and concentrate on being with each other. Our time together and with our daughters is the most important thing in the world to me."

The couple's lawyer is Paul Castillo from Lambda Legal. He said:

"They have to be treated as any other married couple."

He also said that the couple:

"... will have the comfort and security to know that Indiana is now recognizing their same-sex marriage from the state of Massachusetts and that they have the security to know that, in the event of Niki’s passing, Amy Sandler will be recognized as a surviving spouse. ... This is, indeed, a case where a woman is dying and needs immediate relief for her family. We are here today so that a woman can die in dignity. 2

Bryan Corbin, a spokesperson for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s noted that the laws in Indiana do:

"... not allow for hardship exceptions." 3,4

He also said:

"Because the temporary restraining order involves two plaintiffs and one death certificate only, it does not apply in any way to marriage licenses of others. County clerks in Indiana will be notified that there is no change in legal requirements for granting marriage licenses as a result of this TRO. County clerks still are prohibited by law from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples." 5

IndyStar wrote:

"Arguing on behalf of the state, Solicitor General Tom Fisher said granting temporary restraining orders are not a matter of emotional equity but of legal rights. Under current Indiana law, he argued, the state's marriage statute does not allow for hardship exceptions, like the one in Sandler and Quasney's case.

Fisher said if law changes after Quasney dies, thus validating the couple's marriage, Indiana could amend her death certificate. But he said that request doesn't constitute immediate harm and wouldn't justify the emergency request for recognition."

Chris Paulsen, president of the board of Indiana Equality Action, a nonprofit LGBT-positive group said:

"I think this will open the doors to more decisions like this, and eventually it will lead to full recognition of marriage."

Micah Clark, executive director of the American Family Association of Indiana said:

"This is legal chaos. ... We have been warning this is going to happen for years — that homosexual activists would continue to try to redefine marriage."

He said that even if the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling sometime in the future that legalizes same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the debate will continue. He said:

"You might get to a legal tipping point, but I don't think you will get to a cultural tipping point." 2

This injunction is similar to one issued by a federal judge during 2013-DEC in Ohio. It also involved recognizing a same-sex marriage only on a death certificate. Officials in he state of Ohio, believing that recognition of one same-sex marriage is one too many, even if it is only done after the individual has died, has appealed that ruling to a Circuit Court of Appeals. It is unknown whether the same path will be followed by officials in Indiana.

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Follow-up to Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney's marriage:

During late 2014-JUN, the Attorney General of Indiana appears to have concluded that one same-sex marriage in Indiana is one to may, in spite of the special circumstances involved in Amy and Niki's marriage. The state has asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the District Court Judge's ruling in order to deny the existence of Amy and Kiki's relationship, so that the state will be able to regarded them once more as legal strangers -- as simple roommates.

Webmaster's snide comment: [heavy bias alert]

I would like to nominate the Attorney General of Indiana for this year's "Orval Faubus Award." For those who are unfamiliar with the name, he was the Governor of Arkansas who stood in a schoolhouse door in Little Rock. AR in 1957, to prevent 9 black students from getting an education.

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2013-APR: A religious conservative pastor writes about Judge Young's injunction:

Rev. Tim Bayly, author of BaylyBlog and pastor of Clearnote Church in Bloomington, IN, had an interesting interpretation of what is at stake for the LGB community. He has apparently accepted the conservative Christian interpretation of the six or seven "clobber'' passages in the Bible that some Christians believe refer to the lesbian, gay and bisexual community.

On APR-03, he wrote:

"Think with a [conservative] Christian mind. When a lesbian in a homosexualist marriage is facing death due to Stage IV ovarian cancer, one of two things is true: either now is the time to release her from the oppression of residents of the state of Indiana so she and her partner in this loving relationship may approach her death in peace; or now is the time to warn her that, if she defies God to her very end, upon death she will certainly face God's wrath and eternal damnation. Death is the great purifier of thoughts. The choices are clear. The Holy Spirit has spoken: "it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

Which side of this choice shows compassion for this immortal soul? The attorneys and judges who use this lesbian's impending death to express their own hatred and defiance of God? Or the citizens of the state of Indiana who call their civil magistrates to condemn the evil of lesbianism and warn those who practice it, particularly at the time of their death?"

"... there is no third option. Either the civil magistrate will punish evil or he'll punish good. Either he'll connive at the damnation of the dying lesbian or he'll warn her to flee the wrath to come. There's no third option that maintains neutrality." 6

There is zero room for doubt in his blog entry.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above notes. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Judge: Ind. must recognize gay couple's marriage," RTV 6 ABC, 2014-APR-10, at: http://www.theindychannel.com/
  2. Jashin Lin, "Judge Rules Indiana Must Recognize One Same-Sex Marriage," Indiana public media, 2014-APR-10, at: http://indianapublicmedia.org/
  3. Zack Ford, "Federal Judge Orders Indiana To Recognize Terminally Ill Woman’s Same-Sex Marriage," Think Progress, 2014-APR-14, at: http://thinkprogress.org/
  4. Charles D. Wilson, "Federal Judge: Indiana Must Recognize Gay Couple's Marriage," Huffington Post, 2014-APR-15, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  5. Jashin Lin, "Judge Rules Indiana Must Recognize One Same-Sex Marriage," Indianapolis Public Media, 2014-APR-10, at: http://indianapublicmedia.org/
  6. Tim Bayly, "Homosexualist marriage, death and compassion," BaylyBlog, 2014-APR-03, at: http://baylyblog.com/

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initially posted: 2014-JAN-14
Latest update: 2014-JUN-26
Author: B.A. Robinson
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