Judge grants extension, says Indiana must recognize gay couple’s marriage

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INDIANAPOLIS (May 8, 2014) – A judge says the state of Indiana must recognize the same-sex marriage of a Munster couple.

U.S. District Judge Richard Young extended a preliminary injunction requiring the state to do so. Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney were married in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is allowed. Quasney is terminally ill with cancer. The order says the state must list Sandler as her spouse after Quasney dies.

The order applies specifically to Sandler and Quasney. It doesn’t affect other same-sex couples wanting legal recognition in Indiana. The couple’s motion is part of a large case challenging Indiana’s law against gay marriage.

The judge had issued the earlier injunction on April 10, and it was set to expire Thursday before the judge granted the extension indefinitely. The couple wanted their marriage recognized to make sure Sandler is eligible for benefits in the event of Quasney’s death. They have two young children.

The Attorney General’s Office is representing the state in the case. In a statement released Thursday, the office expressed sympathy for the couple but said its position remained the same.

“The motion should not have been granted since the current rule of law does not allow for a hardship exception from the statute for one person or two people, as that would create inconsistency for all other citizens of Indiana,” the statement read in part.

Attorneys for the couple asked the judge last week to resolve the larger issue of same-sex marriage in Indiana. No decision has been reached on that aspect of the case.

The Attorney General’s Office maintains that Indiana’s law defining marriage as between one man and one woman is constitutional and should remain in place.