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Ohio AG to appeal ruling requiring recognition of same-sex marriage

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine [official website] on Thursday filed notice of his plans to appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, [official website] a December ruling [text, PDF] that requires the state to recognize valid out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples on Ohio death certificates. The ruling, made last month by Judge Timothy Black, found that by treating lawful same-sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex marriages, Ohio law violates the US Constitution Equal Protection Clause [Cornell LII backgrounder]. Although citizens of Ohio voted in 2004 to make same-sex marriage illegal within the state, Black argued that the right to remain married is properly recognized as one that is a fundamental liberty interest appropriately protected by the due process clause of the US Constitution.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] has been an intensely debated issue in the US. A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma [official website] ruled [JURIST report] Tuesday that Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Last week US Attorney General Eric Holder [official website] announced [JURIST report] that the federal government will recognize the marriages that took place while same-sex marriage was briefly allowed in the state of Utah. A judge for the US District Court for the District of Utah [official website] struck down [JURIST report] the state's same-sex marriage ban in December, and the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples the day the ruling was issued. Earlier this month the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in Utah was temporarily blocked by the US Supreme Court after the Utah Attorney General [official website] filed an application for stay [JURIST reports] with the court. Also in January four same-sex couples filed [JURIST report] a class action lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] seeking to overturn the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In December the New Mexico Supreme Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

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