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Cincinnati, Ohio April 16, 2014.  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black ruled today that Ohio must issue birth certificates to four Ohio children – three soon to be born – listing both of their same-sex married parents.  Judge Black stayed the rest of his decision that Ohio’s marriage-recognition ban is unconstitutional until it is reviewed by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Today, for at least these four couples, Ohio is a more affirming place. A place where their families are valued,” said Al Gerhardstein, the families’ lead attorney. “The birth certificates of their children will list both parents.  The implementation of same-sex marriage recognition has started and we are all very excited!  We will try and expedite the appeals process so full marriage recognition for all same-sex couples does not trail too far behind.”

Since the Supreme Court struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, ten 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 marriage-ban.

Speaking about the wave of recent judicial decisions, Al Gerhardstein said, “A consensus is finally emerging – the Constitution stands on the side of love.”

Contact:  Al Gerhardstein (o) 513.621.9100513.621.9100 (c) 513.659.4765513.659.4765

Erik Roldan, Public Information Officer for Lambda Legal (c) 312.545.8140312.545.8140, eroldan@lambdalegal.org

312.545.8140


Cincinnati, Ohio April 14, 2014.  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black ruled today 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.

“This is a great day for many Ohio families,” Lead counsel, Al Gerhardstein, stated. “Yesterday, they lived in a state that discriminated against them; today they live in a state that has declared them equal.  Their marriages, the very foundations of their families, are recognized under the law.  This ruling is a sweeping declaration in favor of same-sex marriage recognition.”

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.

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.

The lawsuit has national significance.  Co-counsel includes Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal.  She stated, “Ohio’s refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages has led to countless families, like our plaintiffs, being put in the vulnerable and humiliating position of having to choose who is named as a parent on a critical document that will travel with their child throughout the child’s life. Birth certificates show that both parents are authorized to enroll a child in school, make medical decisions in an emergency, and access vital state and federal benefits for their child. No family should have to endure this disrespect and insecurity for their child.”

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 marriage-ban.

Speaking about the wave of recent judicial decisions, Al Gerhardstein said, “A consensus is finally emerging – the United States Constitution stands on the side of love.”

WHO: Al Gerhardstein, of Gerhardstein & Branch, Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal, and plaintiff couples Brittani Henry and Brittni Rogers, Nicole and Pam Yorksmith, Joseph J. Vitale and Robert Talmas, and Kelly Noe and Kelly McCracken.

Co-counsel also include Jennifer Branch, Jaci Gonzales Martin, Ellen Essig and Lisa Meeks of Cincinnati, and Lambda Legal attorneys Currey Cook and Paul Castillo. Litigation pleadings are at www.gbfirm.com.  More background information on Lambda Legal’s national campaign for the freedom to marry is at lambdalegal.org/LoveUnitesUs.


Cincinnati, Ohio, April 4, 2014 – After oral arguments in Henry et al., v. Wymyslo et al., Federal Judge Timothy Black of the Southern District of Ohio announced from the bench that he will issue a written decision on or before April 14, 2014, that will strike down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio’s bans on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states.

The case did not involve unmarried plaintiffs and therefore did not address the right to marry.  But it will serve as an important precedent for such a case.  The firm has been approached by potential plaintiffs seeking the right to marry in Ohio.  The Judge has not indicated if he will issue a stay delaying the effective date of any part of his ruling


UPDATE: Due to rain, the press briefing will take place in the lobby of the Westin Hotel, 21 East 5th Street, across from Fountain Square. It will still begin promptly at 9:20 a.m.

Cincinnati, Ohio April 3, 2014.  Final Arguments in Henry v. Wymyslo, the lawsuit seeking recognition of marriage for same-sex couples, are set for April 4, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 1 in the federal courthouse at 100 East Fifth Street.  A press briefing will take place at 9:20 a.m. on the Walnut Street courthouse steps.

All of the plaintiffs are same-sex couples married in states where marriage for same-sex couples is legal.  They seek an order requiring Ohio to recognize their marriages just as Ohio recognizes the out-of-state marriages of opposite-sex couples.

Lead counsel, Al Gerhardstein, stated, “Last year the federal court ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates.  Now it is time to recognize these marriages on birth certificates.  The freedom to marry is now in 17 States and the District of Columbia.  Ohio should recognize these marriages as equal in every respect to the out-of-state marriages of opposite-sex couples.”

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 seek the same treatment.

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 seek an order requiring the State to place the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their newborns.   Plaintiffs also include a same-sex couple married and living in New York.  They adopted a baby born in Ohio and seek 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. The couples seek to have Ohio give legal recognition to their valid out-of-state marriages.

The lawsuit has national significance.  Co-counsel includes Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal.  She stated, “Ohio’s refusal to recognize out-of-state marriages has led to countless families, like our plaintiffs, being put in the vulnerable and humiliating position of having to choose who is named as a parent on a critical document that will travel with their child throughout the child’s life. Birth certificates show that both parents are authorized to enroll a child in school, make medical decisions in an emergency, and access vital state and federal benefits for their child. No family should have to endure this disrespect and insecurity for their child.  These couples are entitled to have their out-of-state marriages and parental rights recognized in Ohio.”

WHO: Al Gerhardstein, of Gerhardstein & Branch, Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal, and plaintiff couples Brittani Henry and Brittni Rogers, Nicole and Pam Yorksmith, Joseph J. Vitale and Robert Talmas, and Kelly Noe and Kelly McCracken.

WHAT: Oral Arguments in the case Henry v. Wymyslo.

WHEN: Friday, April 4th, 2014, Press Briefing at 9:20 a.m.

WHERE: 100 East Fifth Street, on the Walnut Street courthouse steps.

Co-counsel also include Jennifer Branch, Jaci Gonzales Martin, Ellen Essig and Lisa Meeks of Cincinnati, and Lambda Legal attorneys Currey Cook and Paul Castillo. Litigation pleadings can be found here.  More background information on Lambda Legal’s national campaign for the freedom to marry is available here.

Contact:

Al Gerhardstein (o) 513.621.9100513.621.9100 (c) 513.659.4765513.659.4765

Erik Roldan, Public Information Officer for Lambda Legal (c) 312.545.8140312.545.8140, eroldan@lambdalegal.org


March 28, 2014. Cincinnati, Ohio. Today Al Cowger Jr. and Tony Wesley Jr. voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit challenging Ohio’s same-sex marriage recognition bans.

They do so following the March 14, 2014 guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight explaining that a health insurance issuer in the group or individual market that offers coverage of an opposite-sex spouse may not refuse to offer coverage of a same-sex spouse.

Further, the state of Ohio, in a March 17 motion filed in the case, stated its legal position that “Ohio insurance law does not prohibit [insurance companies] from selling an insurance policy to anyone it chooses to define in the policy as eligible for coverage.” In other words, the State is not attempting to enforce its marriage recognition bans against same-sex couples in the context of insurance law.

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