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Ohio lawmaker wants federal judge impeached for same-sex marriage rulings

Monday, September 23, 2013
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An Ohio state lawmaker wants the U.S. Congress to impeach a federal judge who ordered state officials to recognize the same-sex marriages of a deceased man and another terminally ill man on their death certificates.

John Becker Ohio

John Becker

State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township) is calling on Republican Congressman Brad Wenstrup to initiate impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House against federal Judge Timothy S. Black, calling his rulings “malfeasance and abuse of power.”

Black has issued a temporary restraining order effective through December 31, preventing state authorities from recording John Arthur, who’s dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, as “single” on his death certificate in the event he dies before the court can consider his challenge to Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Arthur and his husband James Obergefell, who married in Maryland in July, have sued to have their marriage recognized in their home state before Arthur’s death so they can be listed as spouses on his death certificate and be buried next to each other on a family plot, located at a cemetery that only allows descendants and spouses.

Black scheduled oral arguments in the case for Dec. 18.

In a similar ruling earlier this month, Black ordered that a recently deceased man also be listed on his death certificate as married. William Herbert Ives and David Michener married in Delaware on July 22; Ives died unexpectedly in late August.

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Becker said Black “has demonstrated his incompetence by allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence,” and told Wenstrup he is concerned “about the federal government’s ever growing propensity to violate state sovereignty.”

Becker said impeaching the judge for his marriage rulings would “begin the process of restoring state sovereignty back to the original intent of the US Constitution.”

Since federal judges are appointed for life, the only way to remove a judge from the bench is for the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach them, followed by a trial and conviction in U.S. Senate.

“Judge Black’s ruling violated the Ohio Constitution and the will of Ohio voters, the question of whether this decision also violated the U.S. Constitution remains before a higher court,” said Wenstrup, signaling he is unlikely to pursue Becker’s reccomendation

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