Same-sex couple with terminally ill partner appeals for stay exception
EVANSVILLE (July 1, 2014) – An appeals court will expedite the appeal of last week’s ruling in which a federal judge said Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler made the request to expedite the hearing. As a result, the process will be pushed up by two months. Quasney is battling Stage 4 ovarian cancer, and their marriage had been granted a temporary emergency order requiring the state to recognize it.
However, when the state appealed the same-sex marriage ruling, it won a stay that nullified the order. Monday, Lambda Legal, a civil rights advocacy group representing the couple, requested that the appeals court recognize their marriage. The group said such recognition was needed to make sure they received the full protections that other married couples in Indiana receive. They have two young children.
“There is no justification whatsoever for depriving this family of the dignity, comfort, and protections of a legally recognized marriage during this already agonizingly difficult time,” said Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal said in a statement Monday. “We ask Attorney General Zoeller not to oppose this motion. This is one family in all of Indiana that is undergoing tremendous stress while they courageously fight Ms. Quasney’s stage four ovarian cancer. Their marriage doesn’t harm anyone in Indiana, it simply protects them and their children.”
The group got its answer Tuesday afternoon, when Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a response opposing the request to lift the order for the couple. Zoeller issued the following statement about the case:
“The State has extensively researched this matter and sincerely wishes it found a provision within our State’s statutes 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 an exception that would apply, this circumstance surely warrants its use.”
The filing continued, “Having not found a legal exception, the State must oppose the motion, and in so doing stand on its prior arguments.”
Taylor responded Tuesday, calling Zoeller’s decision “heartless, cruel and unbecoming of a public official charged with representing the interests of all Hoosiers.”