US District Judge Richard Young has ruled in favor of the emergency request brought by married couple Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler, who are seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage before Quasney dies of stage 4 ovarian cancer.
During the arguments heard on Thursday, April 10, attorneys for Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney argued for immediate recognition of the couple’s marriage via a temporary restraining order, which would last for twenty-eight days.
Ruling in favor allows them the legal access to benefits that heterosexual married couples in Indiana already enjoy. However, the ruling could be overturned during the twenty-eight days.
A preliminary injunction hearing is also scheduled at that time.
While the couple argued that the request is about recognizing a family as well as dignity and equality, the state have argued that its definition of marriage is based on protections for children, and that granting temporary restraining orders is not a matter of emotional equity but of legal rights.
Married in 2013 in Massachusetts, Quasney and Sandler are hoping the legal recognition will allow them access to state and federal help for surviving spouses and children—the couple has been together for thirteen years and has two daughters together, both toddlers.
The couple joined a lawsuit filed against the state in March 2014, challenging Indiana’s state marriage equality ban as well as its refusal to recognize out of state marriages.
Quasney was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. Despite near-immediate surgery, in which she had over a hundred tumors removed, and intensive chemotherapy, the brief filed on March 31 notes, “Because of this aggressive cancer, Niki measures the rest of her life in weeks, not years.”
At present, they must also travel far from home for Quasney’s medical care, because their local hospital also declined to recognize their relationship.