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Ohio appeals ruling that state recognize gay marriages on death certificates

Thursday, January 16, 2014

CINCINNATI — Ohio authorities on Thursday appealed a federal judge’s ruling that ordered them to recognize gay marriages on death certificates and criticized the state’s ban on such unions as demeaning “the dignity of same-sex couples in the eyes of the state and the wider community.”

Jim Obergefell (left) and John Arthur are plaintiffs in the federal suit agaist Ohio. Arthur died on Oct. 22.

Jim Obergefell (left) and John Arthur are plaintiffs in the federal suit agaist Ohio. Arthur died on Oct. 22.

The attorney general’s office filed its notice of appeal in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. A brief containing their arguments will be filed later.

The state is appealing federal Judge Timothy Black’s ruling last month, which said Ohio’s ban on gay marriage, passed by voters in 2004, is unconstitutional and that states cannot discriminate against same-sex couples simply because some voters don’t like homosexuality.

Though Black harshly criticized the gay marriage ban, his ruling was narrow and only applies to death certificates.

Attorney General Mike DeWine previously told The Associated Press he would be appealing.

“Our job is to defend the Ohio Constitution and state statutes … and that’s what we intend to do,” he said.

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In the ruling, Black wrote that “once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away,” saying the right to remain married is recognized as a fundamental liberty in the U.S. Constitution.

“When a state effectively terminates the marriage of a same-sex couple married in another jurisdiction, it intrudes into the realm of private marital, family, and intimate relations specifically protected by the Supreme Court,” he wrote.

Black referenced Ohio’s historical practice of recognizing other out-of-state marriages even though they can’t legally be performed in Ohio, such as those involving cousins or minors.

Black’s decision stems from a lawsuit in July by two gay Ohio men whose spouses recently died and wanted to be recognized on their death certificates as married. The two couples got married over the summer in st ates that allow same-sex marriage.

Black said “there is absolutely no evidence that the state of Ohio or its citizens will be harmed” by his ruling but that without it, the harm would be severe for two men who filed the lawsuit because it would strip them of the dignity and recognition given to opposite-sex couples.

Two federal judges have reached the same conclusions as Black, though they went much further in their rulings. Judges in Oklahoma and Utah both recently struck down gay marriage bans in the deeply conservative states.

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35 more reader comments:

  1. And ohio will be denied like oklahoma

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:28pm
  2. We are gettin denied in every state.but we keep fightin:)

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:30pm
  3. Why can’t those Homo Stultus knuckle draggers just accept the inevitable, and STFU?

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:30pm
  4. Sigh damn it ohio. I live in indiana. The midwest needs work dmh sry ppl lol i appologize for my regions ignorance

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:31pm
  5. What soulless human beings.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:32pm
  6. The hatred continues!!! The bigotry of the religious is so ingrained it is painful to witness.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:32pm
  7. They will fail.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:34pm
  8. So sad. So inhuman. Gotta keep fighting.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:38pm
  9. Yes because there is absolutely nothing else going on in Ohio that needs addressing apparently. I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not like the ruling overturned the ban on same sex marriage, just that same sex couples wed out of state could be recognized by the state upon their deaths.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:42pm
  10. Slowly but surely every American will gain the right to the pursuit of happiness.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:44pm
  11. Same sex marriage all the way

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:45pm
  12. Ohio bigots in political clothing can save themselves all sorts of trouble and humiliation by stepping down now. They’ll be leaving office, anyways, once the next election comes around.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:46pm
  13. I guess that the good LGBQ people of Ohio can be recognized when their dead. So much for “LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:50pm
  14. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:52pm
  15. The fricken 14th ammendment, it IS unconstitutional!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:53pm
  16. disgusting

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:58pm
  17. Thank you my state of residency!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 5:59pm
  18. By putting someone’s name on the death certificate as a husband how does that affect marriage in Ohio

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:05pm
  19. Great use of state resources as this decision is purely religion based and not constitutional some one should sue the state for misappropriation of resources.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:07pm
  20. Horrifying!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:08pm
  21. Boo, leave it to closed minded republicans

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:10pm
  22. the bottom line is that such ignorance will fall, at least in the legal community!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:12pm
  23. Oh no

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:12pm
  24. Let’s see children are starving, children are homeless and they are concerned about a freakin death certificate! Man that’s some -ucked up priorities!!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:16pm
  25. Why would anyone want to deny another their last wishes, I mean really is the the Compassion of Christ we see here, I don’t think so! Bunch of hypocritical biggots is what we have in many State Governments.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:26pm
  26. Can’t we just move forward. People are people, we live and love and do what we feel in our hearts. To deny someone the right to love whoever they do is just wrong. I am “straight”, but really tired of minuscule minds. Life is too short.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:29pm
  27. Kasich is obsolete

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 6:57pm
  28. GOP just gets more and more out if touch with real people!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:04pm
  29. They are fighting a losing battle.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:07pm
  30. What a waste of time, energy and money! Really, GOP…move away and start your own country somewhere else!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7:59pm
  31. We are making a difference, Keep on Fighting. Our lives are important also.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:02pm
  32. Of course! One reason why I left!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:13pm
  33. Same office that gave OSU the right to collect $5,500 from me for a $900 refund when I dropped out as a senior the second week of the quarter. And would not give me my transcripts so I could earn more as a preschool teacher for the 12 years I taught after college. Causing me to earn minimum wage, not wage based on my educational record.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:15pm
  34. Ohio has become a cesspool of evangelical effluvia, starting with Ohio’s incredibly asshole governor, John Kasich.

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:24pm
  35. How come people call themselves god loving Christians and act so inhumane to people that love each other… So Sad!

    Posted on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 8:36pm