Under an agreement reached this week, Indiana will recognize the marriage of a second lesbian couple in which one member has a life-threatening illness.
Veronica Romero and Mayra Yvette Rivera, who live in Whiting, Ind., had filed suit seeking recognition of their Illinois marriage because Rivera has advanced ovarian cancer, reports The Times of Munster, Ind. In an agreement reached Wednesday between the couple and the state and approved Thursday by U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen, Indiana will recognize their marriage "and, in the event of Rivera's death, issue a death certificate listing her as married and recording Romero as the surviving spouse," the paper reports. Also, the state's Department of Health will assist funeral homes, physicians, and others with duties related to the death certificate.
The women have been together 27 years and were married in Illinois in March. They have two children. In their suit, they noted that lack of marriage recognition deprived them of many spousal rights, such as the ability to make health care decisions for each other.
In April another federal judge had issued a temporary order for Indiana to recognize the marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney; Quasney also has advanced ovarian cancer. In July a federal appeals court ordered the state to continue recognizing the couple's union.
Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage has been struck down by both U.S. district and appellate courts. The state has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, and the justices will decide in the next few weeks whether to do so.