Now that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Indiana’s ban on gay marriage, the wait for the ultimate decision begins.
The decision from the 7th Circuit is now one of four waiting for attention from the U.S. Supreme Court for a final call on whether or not same sex couples should be allowed to marry and receive all associated benefits in the eyes of the law. Although the decision re-affirms the ruling from the District Court and solidifies what gay couples have believed from day one, the 7th Circuit has yet to issue a mandate to accompany their decision.
Until that happens, all Hoosier same sex marriages remain in limbo.
Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the Indiana Attorney General’s office, says the court automatically has 21 days from the date of their decision to issue any accompanying mandate, unless the parties seek a hearing or ask for a stay. Attorney General Greg Zoeller stated immediately following the Sept. 4 decision that he would indeed seek a stay from the 7th Circuit, pending an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court. In a separate filing, the state also plans to appeal the decision. By appealing the decision and asking for a stay, the state hopes to keep the status quo alive and the marriages of same sex couples unrecognized in Indiana.
The issue has traveled through the federal court system at break-neck speed since the cases were originally filed in March. That speed has been attributed in part to the case of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler because of Niki’s terminal battle with ovarian cancer. And for the moment, they remain the only married gay couple recognized in Indiana. The 7th Circuit lifted the stay for their case specifically on July 1, thereby requiring the state to recognize their marriage. The court made no reference to their case or that order last week, keeping their marriage alive so that when the time comes, Amy and their kids can receive the benefits in death that all of the other couples are fighting for.
When asked if the state planned to appeal this decision as well, the Attorney General’s office had no additional comment.