‘Pence’s hateful laws almost kept me from my dying wife’
With so much focus on Trump, we’ve barely scratched the surface on Mike Pence.
Amy Sandler was a plaintiff in Baskin v. Bogan, which challenged Indiana’s denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples while Vice President-elect Mike Pence was governor.
As a resident of Indiana for five years, I got to know Governor Mike Pence better than the average Indiana constituent. Now that he is about to be our next vice president, I want all Americans to know exactly how he treated my family when my wife, Niki, was dying of ovarian cancer.
I want everyone to know the type of man he is—the type of things he is capable of…
Niki and I joined a lawsuit filed by the LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal, Baskin v. Bogan, so that the State of Indiana would recognize our marriage.
When a federal trial court ordered Indiana to recognize our marriage on an emergency basis because of Niki’s declining health, Governor Pence immediately appealed. He wouldn’t allow the state to protect even one family with a dying parent—my family—while the court case made its way through the legal system.
After the Baskin plaintiffs won a sweeping victory, ordering the state of Indiana to recognize our marriages and give all same-sex couples the right to marry, Pence again appealed and the court put our victory on hold. Given Niki’s grave health, our lawyers asked the court to lift the stay on an emergency basis, just for our family. But even that wasn’t acceptable to Pence—a lawyer for the state filed papers in opposition.
Ultimately, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Indiana was violating our constitutional rights by enforcing its same-sex marriage ban.
Niki passed away shortly after our marriage victory.
Despite all that she was going through late in her life, my wife never stopped fighting for gay and lesbian Hoosiers. She never stopped fighting Pence. Niki spoke out publicly about her medical challenges. She shared our fear of being denied emergency treatment at our local hospital, since we had already been denied a simple family gym membership at the facilities.
But while Niki and I beat Pence to win the freedom to marry, the governor’s crusade against LGBT Hoosiers was only beginning.