Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Court: Ohio's refusal to recognize Maryland gay marriage likely unconstitutional

An Ohio federal district court granted a temporary order requiring the state to recognize the validity of a same-sex marriage performed in Maryland.  The court, relying on the Supreme Court's recent DOMA decision, as well as an earlier decision held:

“Quintessentially, Plaintiffs have established a substantial likelihood that they will prevail at trial on their claim that by treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex marriages (e.g., marriages of first cousins and marriages of minors), Ohio law, as applied here, violates the United States Constitution which guarantees that ‘No State shall make or enforce any law which shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.’"

The plaintiffs had been living together in a committed relationship for over 20 years. They recently traveled to Maryland to marry as one of the two, John Arthur, was approaching death from ALS. The court ordered the local state registrar to only accept a death certificate that lists John Arthur as married at the time of his death and that lists James Obergefell as his surviving spouse.

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