Judge to strike down part of Ohio gay marriage law

State will have to recognize out-of-state marriages after Judge Timothy Black's April 14 ruling
Associated Press
Apr 4, 2014

A federal judge said Friday that he will order Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages, a move that would strike down part of the state's ban on gay marriages but stop short of forcing it to perform same-sex weddings.

Judge Timothy Black announced his intentions in federal court in Cincinnati following final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the marriage ban.

"I intend to issue a declaration that Ohio's recognition bans, that have been relied upon to deny legal recognition to same-sex couples validly entered in other states where legal, violates the rights secured by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," Black said. "(They're) denied their fundamental right to marry a person of their choosing and the right to remain married."

Black said he'll issue the ruling April 14. The civil rights attorneys who filed the February lawsuit did not ask Black to order the state to perform gay marriages, and he did not say he would do so.

Gay marriage is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Federal judges have also struck down bans in Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma and Virginia, and ordered Kentucky and Tennessee to recognize out-of-state gay marriages, though stays have been issued pending appeals.

Pam and Nicole Yorksmith, a Cincinnati couple who married in California in 2008 and have a 3-year-old son, were among the four couples who filed the lawsuit challenging the gay marriage ban and said Black's comments Friday gave them validation.

"It also validates to our kids that we're bringing into our marriage that their parents are recognized by the state that we live in, and that's extremely important," Pam Yorksmith said. "We're teaching kids of future generations that all families are different and just because our family doesn't look like your family doesn't mean that ours shouldn't be recognized."

Nicole Yorksmith is pregnant through artificial insemination with the couple's second child and is due in June.

The Cincinnati-based legal team asked Black to declare that Ohio's gay marriage ban is "facially unconstitutional, invalid and unenforceable," and indicated that following such a ruling, the window would be open for additional litigation seeking to force the state to allow gay couples to marry in Ohio.

"This is a serious problem at the basic level of human dignity," civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein told Black during Friday's arguments. "That human dignity is denied by the way Ohio treats same-sex couples. This is central to our whole commitment as a nation to equality."

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Ohio's attorney general, said the state will appeal Black's order when it comes out but declined to comment further.

Attorneys for the state argued that it's Ohio's sole province to define marriage as between a man and a woman, that the statewide gay marriage ban doesn't violate any fundamental rights, and that attorneys improperly expanded their originally narrow lawsuit.

"Ohio has made its own decision regarding marriage, deciding to preserve the traditional definition," state's attorneys argued in court filings ahead of Friday's hearing.

They argued that striking down the law would "disregard the will of Ohio voters, and undercut the democratic process."

Black didn't say why he made the announcement on his ruling before he issues it. But by stating his intention ahead of his ruling, Black gave time for the state to prepare an appeal that can be filed as soon as he does. The state can also work on asking Black for a stay in his ruling pending appeal.

Gay rights organizations praised Friday's development.

"It's only a matter of time before marriage equality is the law of the land in not just Ohio, but every corner of America," said Chad Griffin, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign.

"The court's forthcoming action shines a bright light on the fact that same-sex couples are denied their 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection," said Ian James of FreedomOhio, a group working to have voters overturn the state's ban as soon as this fall.

Phil Burress, who chaired the 2004 effort to ban same-sex marriage and is the president of Citizens for Community Values, said his group is prepared to fight any ballot initiative to repeal the ban.

He said he's confident the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and other courts will overturn Black's coming order and the seven recent rulings overturning statewide gay marriage bans elsewhere or ordering states to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.

"The domino effect you're talking about is going to be short-lived," he said. "This is not the will of the people. This is a Hail Mary pass to get everyone forced to recognize same-sex marriage by having the courts do their dirty work."

The lawsuit originally only asked Black to force Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages on birth certificates. Attorneys later expanded it for a broader and more significant ruling, a move that irked the state's attorneys.

"It could require a sea change in the way numerous government agencies and departments (not parties to this litigation) fulfill their duties," they wrote in court documents, referring to a ripple effect that could encompass Ohio statutes on insurance, mortgages, child guardianship and property.

The lawsuit built on the success of another one also filed by Gerhardstein that sought to force Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages on death certificates.

In December, Black granted that request, saying that Ohio's ban on gay marriage demeans "the dignity of same-sex couples in the eyes of the state and the wider community."

The state appealed that ruling, and the case is pending in the 6th Circuit appeals court.

Comments

thinkagain

And yet another Federal judge overrules the will of the people.

Homosexuals had all the rights of marriage under civil unions, but they needed to redefine the word marriage in order to render the institution meaningless, and to use it as a legal device to force Christian businesses to support acts of perversion or be sued for discrimination.

All races of people already have equal rights under the law. Those afflicted with the homosexual disorder have no parallel with race/skin color, which is fixed, and the choice to be homosexual, which is not fixed.

Homosexual rights were never about civil rights, but about creating a special class of people.

The true model of a family was taught by Our Savior Jesus Christ: “From the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7).

bnjjad

If marriage is truly a religious thing then the government should not have any say in the matter to begin with. They should not distribute marriage certificates or have a say in divorce proceedings unless the divorce is to separate/dissolve the civil union.

If they did then this wouldn't be an issue. Marriage should be an equal opportunity thing if the government has any say in it or has any involvement in its proceedings and offerings.

Separation of church and state.

mikeylikesit

fred phelps would be proud of you.

44846GWP

The Rev. Bigot spews his venom once again.

KnuckleDragger

And...the resident religious bigot is trolling the boards once again.

worddrow811

Your comment is a laughable affliction based on the belief that one's sexuality can be changed. Are you seriously that uninformed in this day and age? People do not choose their sexuality any more than they choose their eye color, hair color or handedness.

Where does it say that a woman shall leave her mother and father and cleave unto a man? I don't recall that it does because women have been treated like property.

If two men or two women want to get married, it's none of anyone's business!

God may have made them male and female, but sexual attraction is predetermined and not a choice.

coasterfan

Actually, the judge sided WITH the majority of Americans who aren't anti-gay. Your thinking is way way WAY old-fashioned. You actually think homosexuality is a "disorder" and an "act of perversion"? I happen to think that religion is a disorder, an irrational belief in a non-existent deity.

anthras

Re:"Actually, the judge sided WITH the majority of Americans who aren't anti-gay."

Are you saying that when the states voted for anti-gay marriage that it became law because of the minority vote? Gee I was thinking that the laws were voted in because the majority of the people voted in favor of the law.

Listentothis

I did not choose to be gay. I did not choose to be hated by bigots as yourself. I did not choose to be bullied and discriminated. If I could choose to live a heterosexual life, I would just so I wouldn't be hated my so many humans. But then I would be lying about my true self. God loves me for who I am, he made me. He's my judge, no gown, no gavel. So who are you to call me an act of perversion or tell me I choose to be this way. You don't know me and you never will. God is about love, not spreading hate. Jesus is my savior, I'm gay and I'm going to heaven. My name is Kayla Miller.

thinkagain

Who am I?

Simply a man of God, spreading the truth in love. But truth is hate to those who hate truth.

Unlike those who pretend to care about homosexuals by accepting this perverted lifestyle, in spite of God’s clear teachings against it, true Christians who speak the truth about homosexuality, do so with the homosexual’s best interest at heart. Not only for in this life, but for the life to come.

Recognizing sin is the first step to overcoming, no matter which sin is being discussed. But today, many, like yourself, say that homosexual sex is OK in the eyes of God, this is the reason I address it. I attack the sin, never the sinner.

Is homosexuality a choice?

Secretly, you already know that people’s sexual desires are shaped by their social and cultural context, however politically undesirable or somehow anti-progressive that may seem.

Homosexuality is a state that a person degenerates into. (Romans 1:18-32).

Marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman. The idea of two homosexuals marrying is an offense to the God who created marriage.

Homosexuals have chosen their psychological disorders as a result of the sinful human nature. And no, this is not an excuse for you to be homosexual or any other form of immoral lifestyle in God's eyes.

Is God love?

Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness”

God is holy and our free will to sin against Him has separated us from Him. On the other hand God loves us and has shown His love by sending His Son for our reconciliation and forgiveness.

The answer is Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of God's justice and love.

That's why Jesus is the key, and life's supreme question becomes, what will you do with Christ?

Jesus expects righteousness and morality, but rather than give up your disobedience, you’re content to follow the wide path that leads to destruction.

Jesus not only loved us enough to die for our sins, so that those that believe may be saved, but he also loved us enough that He provided a way for us to overcome our sins, through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

worddrow811

@think again, your words are nothing but hypocritical blathering and I thank God that not all believers think like you do. You cannot spew hateful words and call yourself a man of God. Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

Listentothis

I do not have a psychological disorder because I am gay. I am a hard working, God fearing person. I question myself everyday, not because I feel who I am is wrong, but because people like you always tell me it's wrong and I'm a horrible person for being gay. You say you don't "attack" people, only "preach" and that you do so in love. I was always taught that love is kind and generous, not boastful. I suppose we have different interpretations of love, hate, sinners and preaching. I'm not going to go into some long debate with you about who I am and that I was created this way, but I will tell you this; if you believe so passionately that I have a psychological disorder, I am an act of being a pervert, and you care so deeply about me and my afterlife, then why are you so hell bent on continuing to spew hatred. A real Christian would recognize that my judgement day will come and I will be before God answering for my sins. If you had any clue at all, you would realize that my sins I will be answering for has nothing to do with my homosexuality. The only thing that angers me to no end with you is that you are a stubborn, close hearted individual who is unhappy if anyone goes against your beliefs and you stand up for what you believe in all in the name of Jesus. Jesus would never talk to me as you do, he would never look at me as you do and he would always look at me as he does any other person. You think you are above me, better than me. I feel sorry for your small mind and closed heart. I pray one day you see me for who I am, not who I love. I pray you see me as an equal, as another child of God. Let me deal with my sins, they never have been your problem.

thinkagain

If it soothes your guilty conscience, feel free to falsely judge me however you wish. Your argument is not with me, but with the One who created you.

“my sins I will be answering for has nothing to do with my homosexuality.”

You claim to be a Christian, yet proudly wear the mantle of a practicing homosexual in spite of God’s clear teaching against it.

No matter what excuse you may offer, homosexuality is a sin. It always has been and it always will be. Like all sin, homosexuality is a choice made from free will.

Many people do not want to believe in a God who demands righteousness and morality, so they invent a God who makes no such requirements.

I will spend my days obeying Christ’s command to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. A work that every Christian can and must give themselves to.

Listentothis

You're right, my argument is with the one who created me. So why is it such a big deal for me to have equal rights? I don't necessarily want to or have to be married in a church. Why is it so hard for you to accept me as an equal? I don't have a guilty conscience. It's people like you that always throw it in my face that I CHOOSE to be this way and it's wrong. When in fact, I was born this way. One day you will see it's written in our DNA just like the color of our skin or the pigment of our hair. I'm not falsely judging you either, that would be your job. I interpret the Bible differently.

ladydye_5

Listentothis--pay no mind to thinkagain....he has not real thoughts of his own. All he does is quote a really old book. He cannot say or site any reasons without using the bible as reference. And I will also tell you this...if heaven is filled with people like HIM, I would much rather be in HELL.

4-wheeler al

sick

indolent indiff...

i love watching the old conservatives and religiuos nuts complain! this is a great time to be alive

JMOP

I'm a conservative, not old, nor would I fit to be called religious.

I find it disturbing the simple minded goes by how Hollywood and the Dems define conservative republicans. Don't buy into their thoughts please.

coasterfan

Maybe it's because many conservatives are simple-minded folks who cling to 1950's dogma that has repeatedly been proven to be wrong.
I don't buy anything Republicans are selling.

JMOP

Two words:
Reid Pelosi

Donegan

Clinton Signed DOMA, in the 80's.
You bought that didn't you?

KnuckleDragger

I agree, people like Coaster lump all of us together. I am a conservative but not affiliated with the Republican party and tend to be mostly a fiscal conservative and a moderate socially. For example I have no problem with gay marriage, I don't think it in any way cheapens my hetero marriage. There is still a difference between a religious marriage performed in a church under the auspices and blessing of God and one performed by a judge that is essentially done to satisfy contract law (a legal marriage) so the separation is still there. Nobody is forcing churches to marry Gay men and women. If a church so chooses to it is on them. I find myself closer to being a liberatarian than a republican. I think both major parties are broken and no longer represent anything other than their own wallets.

44846GWP

I agree with what you say. Why are you busting my chops? Just feeling nasty today?

wasthere

I wouldn't listen to much of what coaster has to say. Once you read a few of his posts, that will tell you all you need to know. He like to lump everyone into two groups. The ones that are wrong........and him.

JMOP

Why live in a state where we the people, voted against their definition of "marriage"?

bnjjad

Why live in a state that does not practice separation of church and state and instead institutionalizes religious practices and then limits those practices by allowing a majority vote on something that shouldn't even be an issue?

JMOP

Because marriage is a church issue. If they want a civil union so be it, it's not a marriage. It's true, we shouldn't have had vote on it, but we did. Not like it seems to matter if we voted against or not, judges are striking the laws against the will of the people in many states.

Please tell me a state where this federal tyranny wont go against the will of the people, I'll gladly move there.

coasterfan

Marriage is NOT a church issue. Or at the very least, marriage doesn't HAVE to be a church issue. I got married in an atheist ceremony on the beach, and god and religion were not included in any way.

It's NOT tyranny when other people don't allow you to force your religion on others. Your rights end when they infringe on others. I don't push my atheism on anyone, and resent when religious folks think they can and should be able to force their religious beliefs on me.

The current voting issues are due to the realization that we forgot about the separation of church and state, and therefore, are an attempt to fix that mistake.

JMOP

What is an atheist ceremony? Promising never to bring god into the marriage? Who officiates? Why even get married? For benefits?

The religious people, and Ohioan voters, are reinforcing straight marriage, it's the gays and their supporters telling the them they need to make exceptions to the rules. So yes, you are INFRINGING the rights of others.

Tyranny is when Holder said "state attorneys generals are not obligated to defend laws that they believe are discriminatory." "BELIEVE" not proven, or by the will of the people. What's your definition of tyranny?

The church and state separated? Fine. We can agree to call it a civil union, or do you want to infringe the rights of the opposition?

Donegan

You sure enjoy pushing your politics on people though. Remember DOMA? Yeah hypocrite.

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