Ohio makes significant changes after gay marriage ruling

Ohio makes significant changes after gay marriage ruling
Jim Obergefell speaks during the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony.
Jim Obergefell speaks during the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony. Matt Rourke, AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio –— Same-sex couples in Ohio can now hold their weddings in the Statehouse, file their state taxes jointly and list their spouses on death certificates following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month that legalized gay marriage across the country.

The lead plaintiff in the case that led to the landmark ruling was Jim Obergefell of Cincinnati. He sued Ohio’s health director for refusing to list him as the surviving spouse on his husband’s death certificate. Ohio voters banned gay marriage in 2004. The state’s health department oversees vital statistics that include birth and death records.

Now that gay marriages are allowed, the state is working to comply with the ruling. Here’s a look at some changes that have already been made and others still in the works:



A Statehouse rule requires couples to have an Ohio marriage license if they wish to walk down the aisle at the historic building or hold their receptions there. The policy makes no reference to same-sex marriages. But the rule had prevented gay couples from holding their ceremonies in the building’s rotunda, atrium and other spaces, because they had been barred from getting the licenses until the high court’s ruling.

A spokesman for the board that oversees the Statehouse and its grounds said the policy remains unchanged since the Supreme Court’s decision. All couples must still submit their licenses to the board to wed at the Statehouse, said Luke Stedke of the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board. No same-sex couple has applied yet.



Ohio’s tax department has done away with a form used by married same-sex couples. The document had allowed those filing taxes jointly at the federal level to separate their returns for the state. In 2014, 9,894 taxpayers filed this form, according to the department. That’s out of 5.4 million tax filers.

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