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Lambda Legal seeks marriage recognition for terminally ill Ind. woman and her wife

Monday, March 31, 2014
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INDIANAPOLIS — Lambda Legal on Monday asked a federal court to order the state of Indiana to recognize the marriage of a terminally ill woman and her wife.

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler

Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler

Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney and their two children seek immediate relief from Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, as Quasney was diagnosed with stage IV cancer and cannot wait while longer for the protections of marriage.

Quasney and Sandler have been together for 13 years, have two children under the age of three, and were married in Massachusetts in 2013

The couple seek to have their marriage legally recognized in Indiana to receive protections and security equal to opposite-sex married couples, 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.

Additionally, Quasney and 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.

Quasney was diagnosed in 2009 with ovarian cancer, having more than 100 tumors removed in surgery days later. She has since had two additional surgeries and aggressive chemotherapy treatment.

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“Every day that Indiana denies Amy, Niki and their two children the protections of marriage is cruel and discriminatory against a family whose time together is precious,” said Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal. “This family shouldn’t have to endure discrimination from the State of Indiana while fighting to enjoy the time they have left together as a family dealing with a terminal illness.”

With Monday’s filing, Quasney and Sandler and another same-sex couple and their son were added as plaintiffs in a federal court challenge brought by Lambda Legal challenging Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban.

The case, Baskin v. Bogan, is one of five federal lawsuits filed in March challenging the ban. Lambda Legal has asked that Quasney and Sandler’s claims be heard on an emergency basis.

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