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A federal judge in Indiana said today that the state must continue to indefinitely recognize the same-sex marriage of a single couple. However, today’s ruling did not address the overall issue of same-sex marriage in Indiana.
The case involves Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, both 37, who were married in Massachusetts but now reside in Indiana. U.S. District Judge Richard Young decided to indefinitely extend a court order issued last month that their marriage be recognized in the state of Indiana, according to The Indy Star.
Quasney has terminal ovarian cancer. WIBC reports that Young’s ruling means that Sandler can officially be listed as Quasney’s spouse if Quasney dies so that Sandler could receive benefits for a legal spouse.
“We are relieved and happy to send our congratulations and best wishes to Amy, Niki and their family,” Lambda Legal, the couple’s representation and a gay rights group, said in a statement Thursday. “We applaud their courage and commitment to each other and to equality as they fight Niki’s illness.”
While Sandler and Quasney’s case was decided, Young declined to issue an overall ruling on whether or not the state has to recognize all legal same-sex marriages outside Indiana. Lambda Legal is also representing other couples suing for recognition in the state, but Young didn’t rule on those cases.
As for the state’s attorney general’s office, it is still defending the state’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. While they did express sympathy in this particular case, the office did not agree with Young’s decision.