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Federal judge rules Ohio must recognize couple's same-sex marriage

Federal judge rules Ohio must recognize couple's same-sex marriage

(Cincinnati) - A judge has ruled in favor of two Cincinnati men in a federal lawsuit over same-sex marriage. The couple accuses Ohio of violating the U.S. Constitution by denying legal recognition to same-sex couples married in states where gay marriage is legal.

The lawsuit from James Obergefell and John Arthur was filed Friday against Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine, and the Cincinnati Department of Health which is responsible for filing death certificates.

The men were married last month in Maryland, but Ohio doesn't recognize the marriage. Arthur, who has ALS, isn't expected to live much longer. The couple wants his death certificate to list Obergefell as his surviving spouse and show his status as married.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black granted a motion for a temporary restraining order.

"How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single out same sex marriages as ones it will not recognize? The short answer is that Ohio cannot at least under the circumstances here," the ruling states.

Attorney Al Gerhardstein argued that while other marriages, including those of first-cousins and minors, may be illegal in Ohio they are legal in other states. When those couples come to Ohio those marriages are recognized by the state.

"Our marriage matters. It's legal. We want to be recognized," Obergefell said.

The ruling could eventually lead to wider changes, but for now it only applies to Obergefell and Aurthur.

“We believe this is a fair ruling that treats people with decency. We hope that through the love and loss of John, and the struggles this family endures, that Ohio will realize greater acceptance of marriage equality and the worth of all our citizens,” said Ian James who heads the effort to put a ballot issue before Ohio voters to overturn a 2004 ban on same-sex marriage.

No word yet on what action the state plans to take on the ruling.

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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel and/or the Associated Press, all rights reserved. Photo by Getty Image.)

 

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