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Ohio couples challenge same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] Six Ohio couples on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging the state's same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] ban. The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website], challenges the constitutional prohibition [text] against same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 2004. The lawsuit alleges that the ban violates the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the US Constitution. According to the complaint, the six couples "are in love, but Ohio law denies them the right to get married and enjoy marriage's many benefits and responsibilities." The couples are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

Earlier this month a federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages [JURIST report] performed out of state. Also in April Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine determined that a proposed amendment [JURIST report] to the state constitution that would overturn its current ban on same-sex marriage had obtained the requisite number of signatures and satisfied the requirement that it be a "fair and truthful statement of the proposed law." The proposed amendment still requires several steps before it will be put to a vote. The Ohio Ballot Board will now determine if it contains any significant issues, and then it must obtain signatures in at least 44 of Ohio's 88 counties. Same-sex marriage bans are also facing lawsuits in several other states, including North Carolina, Wisconsin and Georgia [JURIST reports].

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