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Indiana agrees to recognize 2nd same-sex marriage as 1 woman battles ovarian cancer


HAMMOND, Indiana — Indiana has agreed to recognize a second same-sex marriage because one of the women is battling cancer.

A federal judge on Thursday approved Veronica Romero and Mayra Yvette Rivera's agreement with the state and the Lake County clerk.

The Whiting couple married last March in Illinois, and Rivera has ovarian cancer. The state agreed to list Romero and Rivera as married on Rivera's death certificate after the two women argued that failing to do so would exclude Romero and their children from death benefits.

"Our 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has previously made an exception to Indiana's existing statute and recognized a plaintiff's out-of-state marriage under similar, difficult circumstances," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement released to The Associated Press on Friday.

Munster residents Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler made similar arguments. Quasney has advanced ovarian cancer, and she and Sandler were married in Massachusetts. Theirs was the first same-sex marriage recognized in Indiana as the court battle over the state's gay marriage ban continues.

Romero and Rivera filed their complaint against the state and the Lake County clerk on Sept. 8.

A federal judge struck down Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage on June 25. The federal appeals court in Chicago affirmed that decision Sept. 4, and both sides in the argument have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Both decisions have been temporarily halted from taking effect. Indiana has asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the decision from taking effect until the high court can rule on the issue.

Hundreds of gay couples wed in Indiana following the district court ruling finding the ban unconstitutional before stays were issued. The status of those marriages has yet to be determined.

All the latest news surrounding the same sex marriage debate can be found here.

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All the latest news surrounding the same sex marriage debate can be found here.

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