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The New York Times produced a wonderful video about love triumphed in court.

Less than an hour after the Supreme Court said states must permit same-sex marriage, Hamilton County Probate Judge Ralph Winkler issued Ohio’s first marriage license to a same-sex couple.  Many other Probate Courts in Ohio issued licenses on Friday, including Warren County, Franklin County, and Cuyahoga County.  By the end of the day, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered all lower courts, effective immediately, to make all references to husband and wife, mother and father gender neutral to comply with The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell.

By 4:30 p.m. four couples were married on Fountain Square by Mayor John Cranley.

Others were married in courthouses and private ceremonies across Ohio. June 26, 2015 was a great day!

Contact:  Al Gerhardstein 513.621.9100; cell 513.659.4765

Jennifer Branch 513.621.9100; cell 513.535.4123

(Cincinnati, OH, June 26, 2015) — In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Kennedy, the U.S. Supreme Court today declared that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s decision invalidates all state statutes and constitutional amendments barring same-sex couples from marriage, including Ohio’s. Al Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch, lead counsel in two of the six consolidated cases collectively known as Obergefell v. Hodges, issued the following statement:

“We are thrilled!  With this decision Ohio must now recognize the marriages of same sex couples married elsewhere.  And soon same sex couples will be able to marry in Ohio as well.  The babies born to and adopted by our plaintiff couples will no longer be blocked from having both parents listed on their birth certificates.  Full legal protection for their families and for families across the country has arrived.  This is truly an historic day!   We stand ready to seek full and prompt implementation of this ruling.”

Jennifer Branch, of Gerhardstein & Branch, is lead counsel in the case Gibson v. Hodges, seeking the right to marry in Ohio for same-sex couples. The case is currently pending in the Federal District Court Southern District of Ohio. It was stayed pending today’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Ms. Branch said of today’s decision, “we are overjoyed that the six plaintiff couples in the Gibson case will finally be able to enjoy equal rights to marriage, along with all loving, same-sex couples in the United States. The Supreme Court did the right thing in the Obergefell decision.”

Obergefell v. Hodges, filed in July 2013, and Henry v. Hodges, filed in February 2014, demonstrate the importance of marriage to families through the life span, from the birth of their children through the death of a spouse and beyond. The Obergefell plaintiffs are widowers who fought to be listed on the death certificates of their deceased husbands, who they married out of state.  The Henry plaintiffs sought respect for their out-of-state marriages, including recognition for both spouses as parents of the couples’ children, on birth certificates and through life. The Supreme Court’s ruling striking down discriminatory marriage bans throughout the country is a logical next step following the Court’s 2013 Windsor decision which held that which held that the federal marriage recognition ban for same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

Al Gerhardstein, Jennifer Branch, Jaci Gonzales Martin, and Adam Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch, and Ellen Essig and Lisa Meeks of Cincinnati join with Susan Sommer, Paul Castillo and M. Currey Cook, of Lambda Legal as counsel in the Henry case and James Esseks, Chase Strangio and Joshua Block of the American Civil Liberties Union as counsel in the Obergefell case.

If you want to get married in Cincinnati on the day the Supreme Court rules in Obergefell v. Hodges, come downtown to Fountain Square. All you need to bring is your fiancé and your marriage license from the Probate Court where you reside.  An officiate will be prepared to perform the group ceremony.

Rain Plans:  Meet in the Atrium of the Westin Hotel (5th Street between Vine and Walnut)

If the Supreme Court of the United States declares Ohio’s ban on same sex marriages unconstitutional, some of Ohio’s 88 probate courts have already stated they will allow same sex couples to apply for marriage licenses immediately.  If you live in Ohio you must apply for your marriage license at your home county probate court but can be married anywhere in Ohio.  Check your county’s website for the details (both must be in person, paperwork to bring, fees) before showing up.  Check this website for up-to-date information. Here is a list of Counties which have announced their plans as of June 24th

  • Athens
  • Champaign (“we’re ready for anything”)
  • Clark (prepared to issue gender neutral licenses)
  • Clermont (will follow the law)
  • Cuyahoga (immediately, extra staff, gender neutral forms)
  • Delaware (immediately, extra staff, gender neutral forms)
  • Fairfield (will be ready same day, gender neutral forms)
  • Franklin (immediately, extra staff and extended hours if in line at 4:30, gender neutral licenses), apply on-line now:
  • Hamilton (immediately, extra staff, may give out numbers if too many folks show up at once, apply on-line now:
  • Knox (expected to issue licenses same day)
  • Lake (within a day or two)
  • Licking (we are ready to roll)
  • Lorain (no delay once the ruling is understood, extra staff, gender neutral forms)
  • Lucas (ready for whatever SCOTUS does, gender neutral forms, ready for extra business)
  • Madison (will be ready same day, gender neutral forms)
  • Mahoning (is preparing, gender neutral forms)
  • Medina (don’t know how long it will take)
  • Montgomery (expected to issue licenses same day)
  • Pickaway (will follow the decision)
  • Portage (court to close on decision day to prepare forms and reopen next day)
  • Stark (immediately, gender neutral forms)
  • Summit (immediately, extra staff)
  • Union (will be ready same day, gender neutral forms)
  • Warren (will follow the decision, creating gender neutral forms)

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Suite 400
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Fax (513)345-5543