Ohio Judge: State to recognize gay marriages from other states - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Ohio Judge: State to recognize gay marriages from other states

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Cincinnati-based Federal Judge Timothy Black ruled on Monday, April 14, that Ohio's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other states is unconstitutional and such marriages must be recognized under the law for all purposes.

However, Judge Black temporarily stayed his decision - delaying its effect - and asked the parties to brief their arguments for and against a stay by tomorrow, April 15, 2014.

Judge Black will then rule quickly on whether to delay the full effects of his ruling until it is reviewed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Philip Vinks sees this ruling as the dawning of a new day for Ohio's gay community. 

"Today was a blessing. Today is a good thing," Vink relayed his happiness to 19 Action News. "It should have been a long time ago, but this is great."

Vink married Darrell Ludgwig in New York in May 2013. Now that Judge Black calls the recognition ban unconstitutional and discriminatory the two men could not agree more.

The plaintiffs who brought this case are same-sex couples married in one of the 17 states or the District of Columbia where marriage for same-sex couples is legal. They sought an order requiring Ohio to recognize their marriages just as Ohio recognizes the out-of-state marriages of opposite-sex couples. 

Dr. Rick Starn and his husband Ron Grey were married in November of 2008 in Massachusetts, one of 17 states where same-sex marriage is legal.

Grey shared, "Just recognizing us as a gay couple makes a difference." 

The judge's order does not force Ohio to perform gay weddings, only to recognize them. The recognition comes with real, legitimate benefits; for instance, filing for taxes, sharing property rights, hospital visitation and rights as couples to adopt.

The plaintiffs include three lesbian couples. One of the women in each marriage is pregnant through artificial insemination. Their babies will all be born in Cincinnati hospitals in the next few months. They sought an order requiring the State to place the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their newborns. In Ohio, a husband is named on a child's birth certificate and legally recognized as the "natural father" even when his wife becomes pregnant through artificial insemination and he is not a biological parent. Plaintiffs sought the same treatment and Judge Black ruled that the United States Constitution gives them that right and ordered the Ohio Department of Health to issue accurate birth certificates to their children when they are born.

Plaintiffs also include a same-sex couple married and living in New York. They adopted a baby born in Ohio and sought an order requiring Ohio to honor their New York adoption decree by placing both of their names on their son's birth certificate, as would happen if they were an opposite-sex couple. Judge Black also ruled in their favor, ordering the Ohio Department of Health to amend the birth certificate of their son.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, eight federal courts have ordered their states to recognize and/or celebrate marriages between same-sex couples. Eight Attorney Generals have also announced they will not defend such laws because they are unconstitutional. Ohio's Attorney General, Mike Dewine, has indicated he will continue to defend Ohio's same sex marriage-ban.

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