Ohio judge to strike down state’s same-sex marriage ban

Ohio judge to strike down state’s same-sex marriage ban

[JURIST] On Friday a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website], Timothy Black, vowed to overturn the state’s ban on the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. Black, who has issued other limited opinions [JURIST report] recognizing same-sex marriages in narrow contexts, stated that Ohio’s refusal to recognize marriages entered into in other states is unconstitutional. In a statement made prior to the issuing of the actual opinion, Black was careful not to discuss the issue of Ohio same-sex couples marrying in the state. The opinion is expected to be issued [Reuters report] by April 14. This announcement will give Ohio officials a chance to prepare an appeal, which Attorney General Mike DeWine [official website] says will come once the opinion is issued. Supporters of same-sex marriage argue that Ohio’s marriage amendment [text] prevents same-sex couples from receiving equal benefits under the law. Opponents, on the other hand, claim that Black should overturn the law which Ohio voters passed with significant popular support.

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the US legal community today. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed two lawsuits in March challenging same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Florida [JURIST reports]. Earlier in March a judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee [official website] granted a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] ordering the state of Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state until the lawsuit challenging the ban can be heard. A week prior, four couples filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in Wyoming state court challenging that state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Last year the US Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act [text; JURIST news archive] in US v. Windsor [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report].