John M. Becker

Ohio's Marriage Ban Gets First Direct Challenge

Filed By John M. Becker | April 30, 2014 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, lawsuit, marriage equality, Ohio, same-sex marriage, Timothy Black

rainbow-ohio.jpgMarriage equality-related cases have been making their way through federal court in Ohio for almost a year now, but today, equality advocates in the Buckeye State filed the first direct constitutional challenge to Ohio's 2004 marriage discrimination amendment.

The AP reports:

Civil rights attorneys filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to strike down Ohio's gay marriage ban and to allow same-sex couples to marry in the state. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Cincinnati on behalf of six gay Ohio couples who say they are in love and want to get married.

"They have an urgent need to affirm their commitment to one another before their children, their family, their friends and their community," the lawsuit said. "For plaintiffs, marriage is a deeply held value. They want to be married in Ohio, their home state."

Attorney General Mike DeWine has said marriage is between a man and a woman, and that he will continue to defend the gay marriage ban passed overwhelmingly by Ohio voters in 2004.

Today's suit is being brought by the same law firm that filed Henri v. Himes. That case, filed in February on behalf of four same-gender couples, sought to compel the state to issue accurate birth certificates to their children recognizing both spouses as parents.

In a ruling in that case two weeks ago, Judge Timothy Black struck down the portion of Ohio's marriage ban that bars the state from recognizing valid same-gender marriages performed in other states. Black subsequently issued a stay limiting that ruling to the four plaintiff couples. Nonetheless, the state is appealing the ruling to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is also appealing Black's ruling last year in Obergefell v. Kasich, which held that the state must list a terminally-ill (and now-deceased) gay man's husband as the surviving spouse on his death certificate.


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