(UNDATED) - A federal judge says he forced the state to recognize one same-sex marriage because the couple were likely to succeed in having the state's gay marriage ban declared unconstitutional.
In the order dated last Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard Young wrote that he agreed with the Attorney General's office that marriages and domestic relations are generally left up to states. But Young also wrote that any restrictions put in place by states must comply with the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection of the laws and due process. Young says the state did not put forth any good reason to prevent the recognition of the marriage of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler.
Quasney and Sandler were married in Massachusetts. They wanted immediate recognition of their marriage by Indiana because Quasney has terminal cancer, and the couple want to be able to access benefits available only to legally married couples. Young's order on April 10 directs the state to recognize Quasney and Sandler's marriage only - a total of five federal lawsuits have been filed challenging the state's gay marriage ban. Solicitor General Tom Fisher had argued that the state could not grant hardship exceptions, as Quasney and Sandler wanted.
Young also wrote that he made his ruling in part because of the wave of other court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage across the country. The order lasts until May 8, and Young is expected to hold a hearing on a temporary injunction before it expires. "The State will move forward to the next stage of this case before the trial court in defending the statute the Legislature passed," said Bryan Corbin, spokesman for Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
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