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Judge keeps same-sex marriage recognition ban in place, during appeal

U.S. Government

Federal Judge Timothy Black  has decided Ohio's same sex marriage recognition ban will remain in place while his decision is being appealed. (meaning same-sex couples cannot go to other states, get married and have those marriages recognized in Ohio during the appeal of this case) The exception is the four couples who sued. Their marriages will be recognized and their names will go on the birth certificates of their children.

From Judge Timothy Black's decision

"...the Court acknowledges that recognition of same-sex marriages is a hotly contested issue in the contemporary legal landscape, and, if Defendant Himes’s appeal is ultimately successful, the absence of a stay as to this Court’s ruling of facial unconstitutionality is likely to lead to confusion, potential inequity, and high costs. These considerations lead the Court to conclude that the public interest would best be served by the granting of a stay. Premature celebration and confusion do not serve anyone’s best interests."

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Before their federal hearing, the four couples gathered at the Westin to be interviewed.

This opinion stems from a February lawsuit filed by four same-sex couples who demanded the names of both parents be put on their children's birth certificates. Current law only recognizes one gay or lesbian parent. Three of the couples (married in other states) are from Cincinnati. One child is due in May and two are due in June.

A fourth couple is from New York and adopted a baby from an Ohio agency. Black has ordered Ohio to recognize these out-of-state marriages so that the names of the parents can be put on the birth certificates.

Judge Black surprised plaintiffs and reporters April 4th  when, from the bench, he said how he was going to rule April 14th. WVXU was first with the story.

Attorney Mike DeWine said, “We felt based on his preliminary rulings that something like this would happen; and, that’s fine, we will take it up to the Sixth Circuit.”

DeWine said that, ultimately, this case or a similar case from another state will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. “And that’s where it could ultimately be decided,’’ DeWine said.

DeWine called Black’s ruling “one more step in the process.”

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Pro-gay groups, like "Why Marriage Matters," want to see the gay marriage ban struck down and say they are using the court and the ballot box to do it.

The plaintiffs' attorney in this case, Al Gerhardstein, tells WVXU he will file another lawsuit in the next two weeks, representing gay couples who want to get married in Ohio.

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