Gay Couple’s Marriage Recognized By Federal Judge In Ohio
On Tuesday, in Ohio, a ruling came down from Federal Judge Timothy Black, which grants John Arthur and James Obergefell, a Ohio gay couple, a temporary restraining order against the state of Ohio.
Arthur and Obergefell are suing to have their marriage from Maryland legally recognized in Ohio.
Arthur suffers from ALS and does not expect to live much longer. The restraining order will not allow the state to enforce its ban on gay marriage; meaning when Arthur dies his death certificate will read as married.
The lawsuit is filed against Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine and a Cincinnati official responsible for filing death certificates. It read: “they very much want the world to officially remember and record their union as a married couple.”
This case will have no implications on Ohio law outside of the couple themselves, however, marriage equality activists are hopeful after the judge’s ruling.
“This is one more step toward marriage equality in the state of Ohio,” said the couple’s attorney, Al Gerhardstein, who said he’s gotten calls from other same-sex couples who married in other states and are exploring their options to have their marriage recognized in Ohio, according to the Associated Press.
Gerhardstein went on to say, “They’re in the middle of every couple’s worst nightmare. This is a very difficult time for them and to share this time with the world as they try to solve these problems – it’s been a huge sacrifice for them and I admire them.”
“This is not a complicated case,” Judge Black wrote in the ruling. “The issue is whether the State of Ohio can discriminate against same-sex marriages lawfully solemnized out-of-state, when Ohio law has historically and unambiguously provided that the validity of a marriage is determined by whether it complies with the law of the jurisdiction where it was celebrated.”
Speaking to The Washington Post, Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said the case was “representative of the strategy advocates for redefining marriages are using,” in which “they make emotional appeals rather than rational ones.”
When the Supreme Court addressed the Defense of Marriage Act in June, they did not make any decisions regarding states ability to recognize same-sex marriages. Sprigg says that this case could have “legal significance” in the future.
But the immediate repercussions are more clear: Arthur will pass away knowing James Obergefell will be listed as his spouse, and they can be buried next to each other in a cemetery which only allows married couples.
“The uncertainty around this issue during Mr. Arthur’s final illness is the cause of extreme emotional hardship to the couple,” Black wrote. “Dying with an incorrect death certificate that prohibits Mr. Arthur from being buried with dignity constitutes irreparable harm.”
I am originally from a small town in North Carolina and have recently moved to Richmond. Meaning I am a novice to the ways of Richmond life, but from what I have seen it is a culturally rich environment that I look forward to diving into. My daily hustle consists of playing bass, reading, and hunting for new music. This summer I will be interning with RVA Magazine and GayRVA.com. In the fall I will be transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University where I will major in journalism.
Openly gay legislators rally to remove defunct same-sex marriage bans from Virginia law and constitution
“There are a number of Republicans, even those are against LGBT equality, who do accept that fact that the Virginia state code books should say what is the law and not what isn’t the law…”October 19, 2016
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