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Same-sex marriage in Ohio


Same-sex marriage in Ohio

Legal status of
same-sex relationships
Previously performed and not invalidated
  1. Can be registered also in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten
  2. Licensed in some counties in Kansas but same-sex marriage is not recognized by the state
  3. Currently legal in St. Louis, Missouri
  4. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage

*Not yet in effect

LGBT portal

The U.S. state of Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriages. It enacted a statute in February 2004 that excluded same-sex couples from marriage or any legal status similar to marriage. It also denied recognition to marriages established in other jurisdictions. Voters approved an amendment to the Ohio Constitution, effective December 2004, that reiterated the statute's definitions and restrictions.

Two lawsuits in federal court have challenged Ohio's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples, asking Ohio to recognize marriages from other jurisdictions for the purpose of recording a spouse on a death certificate and for recording parents' names on a birth certificates. Judge Timothy Black, of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions. He stayed general enforcement of his ruling, but ordered the state to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages for completing death certificates in all cases and for four birth certificates. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine appealed the rulings to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which consolidated the two cases and held oral argument on August 6. That court upheld Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage on November 6.

Legal restrictions

On December 10, 2003, the Ohio House of Representatives, by a 73–23 vote, passed Ohio's Defense of Marriage Act. On January 21, 2004, the Ohio State Senate, by a 18–15 vote, passed Ohio's Defense of Marriage Act. On February 6, 2004, Governor Bob Taft signed the bill into law. Ohio's Defense of Marriage Act bans same-sex marriage, along with the "statutory benefits of legal marriage to nonmarital relationships". It also prohibited state recognition of out of state same-sex marriages.[1][2]

On November 2, 2004, Ohio voters approved State Issue 1, a state initiated constitutional amendment that prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriage, as well as any "legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage" in the state of Ohio. The amendment went into effect on December 2, 2004.[3]


Obergefell v. Hodges

This case was previously styled Obergefell v. Wymyslo, then Obergegell v. Himes.

A Cincinnati, Ohio, same-sex couple filed a lawsuit, Obergefell v. Kasich, in the U.S. Southern District of Ohio on July 19, 2013, alleging that the state discriminates against same-sex couples who have married lawfully out-of-state. Because one partner, John Arthur, was terminally ill and suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), they wanted the Ohio Registrar to identify the other partner, James Obergefell, as his surviving spouse on his death certificate based on their July 11, 2013, Maryland marriage. The local Ohio Registrar agreed that discriminating against the same-sex married couple is unconstitutional, but the state Attorney General's office announced plans to defend Ohio's same-sex marriage ban.[4][5]

On July 22, 2013, District Judge Timothy S. Black granted the couple's motion, temporarily restraining the Ohio Registrar from accepting any death certificate unless it recorded the deceased's status at death as "married" and his partner as "surviving spouse".[6] Black wrote that "[t]hroughout Ohio's history, Ohio law has been clear: a marriage solemnized outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where solemnized" and noted that certain marriages between cousins or minors, while unlawful if performed in Ohio, are recognized by the state if legal when solemnized in other jurisdictions.[7] Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine indicated he would not appeal the preliminary order.[8]

On August 13, 2013, Black extended the temporary restraining order until the end of December and scheduled oral arguments on injunctive relief, which is permanent, for December 18.[9] On September 25, Black granted a motion by the plaintiffs to dismiss the governor and the state attorney general as defendants. The health department director was substituted as the lead defendant, and the case changed to Obergefell v. Wymyslo.[10] On October 22, plaintiff John Arthur died. The state defendants moved to dismiss the case as moot. Judge Black, in an order dated November 1, denied the motion to dismiss.[11] On December 23, 2013, Judge Black ruled that Ohio's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions was discriminatory and ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions on death certificates. He wrote: "When a state effectively terminates the marriage of a same-sex couple married in another jurisdiction, it intrudes into the realm of private marital, family, and intimate relations specifically protected by the Supreme Court".[12][13]

Henry v. Hodges

On February 10, 2014, in Henry v. Wymyslo, four same-sex couples legally married in other states sued in U.S District Court Southern District of Ohio seeking to force the state to list both parents on their children's birth certificates. The judge assigned to the case, Judge Timothy Black, is the same assigned to Obergefell. Three of the couples were women living in Ohio, each anticipating the birth of a child later in 2014. The fourth was a male couple living in New York with their adopted son who was born in Ohio in 2013.[14]

While this lawsuit was pending, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to ask the court to declare Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Judge Black gave the state time to prepare its appeal of his decision by announcing on April 4 that he would issue an order on April 14 requiring Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.[15][16] Following the resignation of the lead defendant, Ohio's director of health, Ted Wymyslo, for reasons unrelated to the case, Lance Himes became interim director and the case was restyled Henry v. Himes.[17] On April 14, Black ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions,[18] and on April 16 stayed enforcement of his ruling except for the birth certificates sought by the plaintiffs.[19]

Court of Appeals proceedings

DeWine appealed Obergefell to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. On February 14, the plaintiffs asked the Sixth Circuit to set an expedited schedule for briefing and argument as the Ninth and Tenth Circuits had done in similar cases, and the Sixth Circuit did so, with the case restyled Obergefell v. Himes with Ohio's new, interim health director as lead-named appellant.[20][21]

On May 20, the Sixth Circuit consolidated this case with Henry v. Himes for the purpose of briefing and oral argument. The Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments on August 6. On November 6, the Sixth Circuit ruled 2–1 that Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage does not violate the constitution. It said it was bound by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1972 action a similar case, Baker v. Nelson, which dismissed a same-sex couple's marriage claim "for want of a substantial federal question." Writing for the majority, Judge Jeffrey Sutton also dismissed the arguments made on behalf of same-sex couples in this case: "Not one of the plaintiffs' theories, however, makes the case for constitutionalizing the definition of marriage and for removing the issue from the place it has been since the founding: in the hands of state voters." Dissenting, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote: "Because the correct result is so obvious, one is tempted to speculate that the majority has purposefully taken the contrary position to create the circuit split regarding the legality of same-sex marriage that could prompt a grant of certiorari by the Supreme Court and an end to the uncertainty of status and the interstate chaos that the current discrepancy in state laws threatens."[22]

U.S. Supreme Court

On November 14, the same-sex couples filed an application for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.[23] They asked the court to consider whether Ohio's refusal to recognize marriage from other jurisdictions violate the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees of due process and equal protection and whether the state's refusal to recognize the adoption judgment of another state violates the U.S. Constitution's Full Faith and Credit clause.[24]

Initiative to repeal constitutional ban

FreedomOhio and Equality Ohio are seeking state officials' approval of a ballot initiative that would replace the constitutional amendment and allow same-sex marriage.[25][26] Two prominent Republicans, Senator Rob Portman and former Attorney General Jim Petro, support repealing the same-sex marriage ban.[27]

Public opinion

A September 2012 poll by the Washington Post indicated that 52 percent of Ohio residents surveyed said that gay marriage should be legal, while 37 percent said it should be illegal.[28]

A March 2013 Saperstein poll for the Columbus Dispatch revealed that 54 percent of Ohio residents surveyed supported a proposed amendment that would overturn the state's 2004 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.[29]

An August 2013 Public Policy Polling survey of 551 Ohio voters found that 48 percent of respondents support same-sex marriage, while 42 percent remain opposed. Ten percent said they were not sure. The survey is the first from PPP to find plurality support for gay nuptials in Ohio. Pollsters also found that 69 percent of Ohioans support either marriage (44%) or civil unions (25%) for gay couples, including a majority (54%) of Republican voters. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said that there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship.[30]

A February 2014 poll found that 50% of Ohio voters support same-sex marriage, while 44% opposed, and 5% didn't know or it wasn't applicable to them.[31] Another February 2014 poll, released two days later by Public Religion Research Institute survey found that 53% of Ohio residents support same-sex marriage, while 38% opposed, and 9% didn't know or refused to answer.[32]

An April 2014 poll by SurveyUSA found 49% of Ohio voters thought that gay marriage should not be legalized, with 43% thinking it should and 8% unsure.[33]

See also


  1. ^ What is DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act)?
  2. ^ Sub. H.B. 272
  3. ^ "Ohio citizens approve Issue 1". The Post (Ohio University). November 3, 2004. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ Hastings, Deborah (July 15, 2013). "Terminally ill Ohio gay man gets dying wish, marries partner after being flown to another state". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Cincinnati lawsuit challenges Ohio's same-sex marriage ban". WVXU. July 19, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple's Marriage". Buzzfeed. July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order". Obergefell v. Kasich, Docket 1:13-cv-00501-TSB, U.S. So. Dist. Ohio (2013). July 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Geidner, Chris (July 25, 2013). "Ohio Attorney General Has No Plans To Appeal Temporary Restraining Order In Gay Couple’s Case". BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Gay Ohio Couple Win Extension Recognizing Marriage". Edge Boston. August 13, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Ohio Gay Marriage Lawsuit Seeking Death Certificate Recognition To Include Similarly Situated Couples". Huffington Post. September 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ Order Denying the Motion to Dismiss. Obergefell v. Wymyslo, 1:2013-cv-00501-TSB, U.S. So. Dist. Ohio (2013). 
  12. ^ Bzdek, Vincent; Sewell, Dan (December 23, 2013). "Ohio's ban on gay marriage ruled unconstitutional in limited case". Washington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Declaratory Judgment and Permanent Injunction, December 23, 2013". Google Scholar. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  14. ^ Myers, Amanda Lee (February 10, 2014). "Couples Sue to Force Ohio's Hand on Gay Marriage". ABC News. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  15. ^ The Associated Press (April 4, 2014). "Judge to strike down Ohio ban on recognizing gay marriage". USA Today. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  16. ^ Memmott, Mark (April 4, 2014). "Federal Judge Says He'll Strike Down Ohio's Same-Sex Marriage Ban". National Public Radio (NPR). Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  17. ^ Vardon, Joe (February 5, 2014). "Department of Health director leaving Kasich administration". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  18. ^ Myers, Amanda Lee (April 14, 2014). "Judge: Ohio must recognize other states' gay marriages". USA Today. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  19. ^ Snow, Justin (April 16, 2014). "Federal judge grants partial stay in Ohio marriage-ban ruling". Metro Weekly. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  20. ^ Motion to Expedite, February 14, 2014, accessed February 20, 2014
  21. ^ Coontz, Bridget (Counsel of Record) (April 10, 2014). "Obergefell v. Himes"Brief of Appellant Lance D. Himes, Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health, . U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District, Case No. 14-3057. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  22. ^ Geidner, Chris (November 6, 2014). "Federal Appeals Court Upholds Four States' Same-Sex Marriage Bans". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  23. ^ Snow, Justin (November 14, 2014). "Same-sex marriage back before the Supreme Court". Metro Weekly. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Ohio Plaintiffs' Supreme Court Cert Petition". Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Ohio could get chance to approve same-sex marriage". June 26, 2013. 
  26. ^ "After SCOTUS rulings on gay marriage, what’s next for Ohio?". Columbus Monthly. June 2013. 
  27. ^ "Jim Petro, Former Ohio GOP Attorney General, Backs Campaign To Overturn State Gay Marriage Ban". Huffington Post. July 8, 2013. 
  28. ^ Somashekhar, Sandhya; Craighill, Peyton M. (October 9, 2012). "Polls in Fla., Ohio and Va. see same-sex marriage support". Washington Post. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  29. ^ Rowland, Darrel (March 24, 2012). "Poll: Ohio marriage views shift". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Plurality Of Ohioans Support Gay Marriage". On Top Magazine. August 23, 2013. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ A Shifting Landscape
  33. ^

External links

  • , November 6, 2014Obergefell v. HodgesSixth Circuit Court of Appeals,
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