Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ohio's Refusal To Recognize Maryland Same-Sex Marriage Held Likely Unconstitutional

In Obergefell v. Kasich, (SD OH, July 22, 2013), an Ohio federal district court granted a temporary restraining order requiring the state to recognize the validity of a same-sex marriage performed in Maryland.  The court, relying on the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Windsor decision, as well as its earlier decision in Roemer v. Evans, held in a 15-page opinion:
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."
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's TRO (full text) orders 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. The Washington Blade reports on the decision.