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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) In Ohio.

Part 4:
2013-JUL: Obergefell v. Kasich case (Cont'd).

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"SSM" refers to same-sex marriage.
"LGBT" refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Transsexual community.

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2013-JUL-23: About the decision of federal District Court Judge Timothy Black (Cont'd):

"... The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in Windsor and in Romer: ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law."

"... By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex marriages [with Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and Ohio’s statute addressing the same issue] likely violate the United States Constitution."

"... 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."

"... The uncertainty around this issue during Mr. Arthur's final illness is the cause of extreme emotional hardship to the couple. Dying with an incorrect death certificate that prohibits Mr. Arthur from being buried with dignity constitutes irreparable harm."

"... The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as 'married' and James Obergefell as his 'surviving spouse'." 1 [Emphasis by us]

He also noted that Ohio already recognizes other types of out-of-state marriages that cannot be performed in Ohio. Examples are the marriage of first cousins, and couples involving non-adults who were too young to marry in Ohio.

Judge Black's temporary injunction was of immense emotional value to Obergefell and Arthur. But it may eventually have great importance to all other same-sex couples in Ohio who wish to marry. It would appear that his reasoning in this special case where one spouse has only a little time to live would also be applicable to any same-sex couple in Ohio who was legally marry outside the state. Much of Judge Black's ruling could be replicated in a future lawsuits launched by same-sex couples married in the District of Columbia or one of the 18 states that currently -- as of 2013-DEC-25 -- allow SSMs and seek to have their marriage recognized in Ohio.

Robert Nichols, spokesperson for Governor Kasich (R) did not indicate whether the District Court ruling would be appealed. However, he did say:

"We don’t comment on pending litigation other than to say the that the governor believes that marriage is [restricted to be only] between a man and a woman." 2

Following the ruling, Ian James -- the co-founder of FreedomOhio -- issued a statement:

"Judge Black’s ruling is historic. John Arthur and Jim Obergefell have shared 20 years of their lives together. They were legally wed on a tarmac in Maryland on July 11 and their marriage should be recognized in Ohio. At this time, in John’s dying days, he and his husband Jim deserve to be treated in the same manner as any other married couple, with respect and dignity. Judge Black’s order ensures John’s death certificate will state [that] he was married and list Jim as his surviving spouse. 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." 3

Ben Bishin, a political scientist at the University of California, Riverside is a specialist in the LGBT equality movement. He said:

"It's the next front for the gay rights movement. There aren’t any more states to flip to allow gay marriage on their own, so it’s just a matter of time before we see precisely these sorts of issues play out [through the courts]." 4

Mark Guarino, staff writer at The Christian Science Monitor wrote:

"Professor Bishin says that the legal challenge in Ohio 'is exactly consistent with the type of arguments people expected to come along for some time following June’s high court ruling, which was written in a way that left many [people] expecting that finer details involving the issue will be worked out in subsequent court battles." 4

Plaintiff James Obergefell said:

"To have a federal judge say, 'You know what, John and Jim, your relationship exists and it's just as valid as any other married couple. It's an incredible feeling — that we do matter." 5

Interview of James Obergefell by WLWT-TV during 2013-JUL:


Al Gerhardstein, the couple's lawyer, said:

"This is one more step toward marriage equality in the state of Ohio. 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." 5

He predicted that this ruling:

"... is going to open the door to create a large number of same-sex couples married in other states [and recognized in Ohio]."

Dan Tierney, spokesperson for Attorney General Mike DeWine downplayed the significance of the District Court ruling, He issued a statement saying:

"This is a temporary ruling at a preliminary stage under sad circumstances. ... Ohio's voters are entitled to the choice they have made on this fundamental issue." 5

While it is the state's responsibility to define whom may marry, they cannot restrict access to marriage in a way that violates the U.S. Constitution. Many believe that Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that thus same-sex couples should be able to marry both in Ohio and all other states.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Text of the ruling: "United States District Court ... Case No. 13-cv-501," Scribd, 2013-JUL-19, at:
  2. Wyatt Fore, "Federal Judge in Ohio Orders State to Recognize a Same-Sex Marriage," HRC Blog, 2013-JUL-23, at:
  3. Chris Geidner, "Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage," BuzzFeed, 2013-JUL-22, at:
  4. Mark Guario, "Same-sex marriage: Ohio judge opens new frontier for gay activists," Christian Science Monitor, 2013-JUL-23, at:
  5. Amanda Lee Myers, "Judge Rules for Ohio Men's Same-Sex Marriage," Associated Press, 2013-JUL-23, at:

Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > Menu > Ohio > here

Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2013-JUL-24
Latest update: 2013-DEC-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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