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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 07
Indiana marriage plaintiff dies: Niki Quasney was 38
Section One
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Indiana marriage plaintiff dies: Niki Quasney was 38

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Niki Quasney, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that brought marriage equality to Indiana, died February 5. She was only 38 and had been battling ovarian cancer for more than five years.

According to Lambda Legal, which represented Quasney and her wife, Amy Sandler, Quasney died with her wife, mother, and five siblings at her side.

One of the arguments Lambda Legal put forward to expedite a ruling in the case Baskin v. Bogan was that Quasney was terminally ill and deserved a decision in her suit before she died.

A U.S. district judge found for the plaintiffs - all of them Lesbian couples - in June last year, and the Seventh Circuit Court confirmed the ruling on September 4. When the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in the case, the way was finally clear for same-sex couples to marry in Indiana.

'Niki and Amy and their daughters became Indiana's first family when they bravely joined Lambda Legal's marriage case, which meant openly sharing very personal and painful parts of their journey together as Niki battled cancer,' Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Paul Castillo said in a press release.

'They brought this case and fought so hard because they loved each other and wanted their daughters to be treated with respect, just like any other family in Indiana.

'They also fought for all same-sex couples and their children in Indiana. They never wanted to be alone in recognition of their family. They knew that by coming forward they could help accelerate equality for all same-sex couples in Indiana by demonstrating the urgency of their need for equal dignity...

'Niki told the court: 'If my life is cut short because of ovarian cancer, I want our children to know that their parents were treated like other married couples in their home state, and to be proud of this,' Castillo's statement continued. 'I want to know what it feels like to be a legally recognized family in our community, together with Amy and our daughters.'

'Niki spent the last year of her life on earth very publicly fighting for her family and doing everything she could to make sure that her wife and daughters were protected. Although our hearts are heavy, we celebrate Niki's life and take comfort in knowing that Niki and her family were able to know - through their own efforts - what equality feels like. We thank Niki and Amy for their courage to stand up for their family and lead the fight for marriage in Indiana. We all owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.'

Because the court decisions were expedited to accommodate Quasney's fight with cancer, the case was the 'fastest, from filing to victory' of any marriage suit, Castillo added.

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