Judge Ready to End Ohio's Ban on Recognizing Gay Marriages

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 4 2014 1:21 PM

Judge Ready to End Ohio's Ban on Recognizing Gay Marriages

Score another victory for the marriage equality movement. The Associated Press with the spoiler:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

A federal judge says he will strike down Ohio's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, meaning the state must recognize marriages of gay couples who legally wed elsewhere.
Judge Timothy Black made the statement Friday following final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the marriage ban. He says he'll issue the ruling April 14 prohibiting Ohio officials from enforcing the ban, which he says violates constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. Black's ruling will not mean Ohio has to allow couples to marry in the state.
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The 10-day heads-up is meant to give the state time to get ready to file an appeal as soon as the ruling comes down, something Buckeye State officials are expected to do. It's also only a partial victory for gay rights advocates given that it won't force Ohio to actually allow same-sex couples to marry in the state.

Black had previously ruled that Ohio had to recognize out-of-state marriages of gays and lesbians for the very narrow purposes of death certificates. While limited, that ruling—which is also being appealed—forshadowed the broader one that is expected to hit the book in the middle of this month.

The case currently before Black was also initially relatively limited (it was originally about birth certificates) but from the sounds of it the ruling will be much more sweeping that the last one. As BuzzFeed spotted, the docket entry summarizing Friday's hearing states: "The Court anticipates striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio’s bans on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states."

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