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Gay marriage ruling stands on Ohio death certificates


Federal Judge Timothy Black has decided to issue a permanent injunction in the case of John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, and William Ives and David Mitchener, meaning same-sex unions have to be recognized on death certificates in Ohio. The Attorney General's Office says it will appeal.

The Cincinnati gay couples had been together for a long time. For Arthur and Obergefell it was 18 years. Arthur died of a terminal illness in October. Ives is also deceased. In July Arthur and Obergefell flew to Maryland to get married and wanted that marriage recognized on their death certificates. Black issued a temporary restraining order in July, allowing the death certificate to say he was married. Michener and Ives were added to the lawsuit.

The couples' attorney, Al Gerhardstein, argued that Ohio should recognize the marriage because it has traditionally recognized out-of-state marriages if they were legal where they took place, such as marriages between cousins and involving minors.

This federal court case could eventually be precedent setting in Ohio. Gerhardstein and his clients want gay marriage recognized in Ohio. The state says the court cannot go out on a legal limb and needs to put the brakes on an issue that could take years to settle.

Gerhardstein says, "We do have inquiries from other clients and will be exploring additional litigation in order to expand the ruling and make marriage equality for all same-sex couples."

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.