John M. Becker

Ohio Couple Sues to Have Maryland Marriage Recognized

Filed By John M. Becker | July 22, 2013 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality
Tags: constitutional amendment, gay marriage, lawsuit, marriage amendment, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Mike DeWine, Ohio, same-sex marriage

jim_john_marriage_ohio.pngRemember John Arthur and Jim Obergefell? They're the Ohio couple we met last week who traveled to Maryland to get married before John succumbed to terminal amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

If you missed the story or don't remember it, read it here. Trust me, it's worth it -- John's and Jim's story is heartbreakingly beautiful.

As if it weren't poignant enough, the couple sued the state of Ohio in federal court on Friday, seeking to compel the state to recognize their valid, legal marriage -- so that John's death certificate will identify him as married.

From the complaint in Oberfell and Arthur v. Kasich:

Unfortunately John is likely to die soon. If John dies first, the death record should record his "marital status at time of death" as "married." Unless this Court acts, his death record, consistent with Ohio law, will list his status as unmarried. That form should also record James as the "surviving spouse". Unless this Court acts, the death record will be blank for surviving spouse. That is, unless this court acts, the permanent death records for James and for John will not reflect their marriage at all.

mike_dewine.jpgZack Ford at ThinkProgress reports that the couple has requested a temporary restraining order against Ohio's constitutional marriage discrimination amendment in case John dies before the court chooses to act. They've also asked for an expedited hearing, which will be held this afternoon.

Mike DeWine, Ohio's hardcore anti-gay Republican Attorney General (left), has promised to vigorously defend exclusionary marriage in court.

It is an indictment of the society in which we live that two people who love each other have to fight so hard for such a simple, basic dignity. Here's hoping that John and Jim's lawsuit is successful, and the state of Ohio is forced to honor their marriage in death in the same way these two men have honored each other in life.

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