Indiana ordered to recognize single gay marriage

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ordered the state of Indiana to immediately recognize the marriage of a single same-sex couple: Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who has stage-four ovarian cancer. 

Last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Young declared unconstitutional the state’s ban on gay marriage and the recognition of gay marriages from other states. The appeals court issued a stay Friday.

But Tuesday, the court issued a brief order forcing the state to recognize the solitary marriage on an "emergency basis,” giving no further reasoning.

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The couple had filed an emergency appeal to the stay arguing that Quasney's life is measured in "weeks, not years," and the lack of a valid marriage certificate in the state affected her health treatment and legal affairs after her death.

"Absent a stay, when Niki dies, Amy will receive a death certificate from the State recording Niki as unmarried — which will interfere with Amy’s ability to take care of Niki’s affairs immediately after her death, and to access the safety net generally available to a surviving spouse and a decedent’s children," the couple's lawyer wrote in an appeal.

Quasney and Sandler married in Massachusetts last year and have two young children. 

The state of Indiana argued that while it empathizes with the couple, the stay should have remained in effect until the case was decided. 

"Indiana marriage law ... permits no hardship exceptions for recognition of same-sex marriages," the Indiana attorney general's office wrote. 

The overall stay remains in effect and oral arguments will be scheduled in the case after briefs are filed in August. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a state ban on gay marriage in Utah was unconstitutional last week — the first time an appeals court has made that type of ruling.