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) 513.621.9100 513.621.9100 (c) 513.659.4765 513.659.4765

Erik Roldan, Public Information Officer for Lambda Legal (c) 312.545.8140 312.545.8140, eroldan@lambdalegal.org

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