Lambda Legal has asked a federal court in Indiana to order the state immediately recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple in which one of the women has terminal cancer.
Lambda filed a motion Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of Munster couple Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney and their two children. Quasney has stage IV cancer.
The women entered into a civil union in Illinois and married in Massachusetts in 2013, but they need their home state to recognize their marriage in order for them to receive numerous protections and benefits, including “the ability to access federal and state safety nets for surviving spouses and their children, and the right to a death certificate that accurately reflects their marriage,” notes a Lambda blog post. “Further, Ms. Quasney and Ms. Sandler frequently travel far from their home to receive medical treatment as a result of their prior experience with the local hospital suggesting it would defer to state law to determine whether a couple is married.”
Indiana law bans same-sex marriage, including recognition of such unions from other states. Unlike in some other states, though, the ban is not written into the state constitution.
Lambda filed suit last month seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Indiana; Monday’s filing adds Sandler and Quasney to the case and asks that their claim be heard on an emergency basis.