John Arthur, James Obergefell, David Michener, and Robert Grunn have sued the State of Ohio claiming that Ohio violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples legally married in other states when it refuses to recognize those marriages on death certificates. Major updates in this case will be posted here. If you would like more information about the case read our Frequently Asked Questions and review the documents in our Case Library.
Cincinnati, Ohio. July 22, 2013. Today U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black issued a Decision and Temporary Restraining Order enjoining defendants from enforcing Ohio’s DOMA laws against Plaintiffs. The decisions can be found here. Judge Black required state and local officials “not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as â€˜married’ and James Obergefell as his â€˜surviving spouse.'”
Attorney Al Gerhardstein stated:
This order is major step on the march toward marriage equality in Ohio.
First we want to make sure Ohio recognizes the marriage of John and James on John’s death certificate. Second we want to secure all of the other rights that they are entitled to as a married couple in this state including the right to file a joint tax return.
At the same time we will start addressing the needs of other same sex couples married elsewhere but now in Ohio.
â€¢ Some are state employees and they want access to state employee benefits on an equal basis.
â€¢ Some are married and want to get divorced.
â€¢ Some have children and both spouses want to be recognized as full parents.
Co counsel Jennifer Branch continued, “There may well be thousands of same sex couples married outside Ohio that Ohio must recognize as having valid marriages. It is our hope that the law will soon be changed by vote and Ohio will become another state where same sex couples can marry without leaving the state.”
Attorney Jaci Gonzales Martin is co counsel on the case.
Cincinnati, Ohio. July 19, 2013. Today a gay couple living in Ohio is suing to hold unconstitutional the state law that prevents recognition of their Maryland marriage. Maryland permits same-sex marriage. Ohio does not. The couple, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur, want their Maryland marriage recognized as valid in Ohio. The lawsuit is based on a difference in treatment between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples. Attorney Al Gerhardstein argues that,
“Equal Protection demands that opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples should be treated the same. John and James were validly married in Maryland. If they were an opposite sex couple Ohio would recognize their marriage. Being a same-sex couple is no longer a good enough reason to deny them equal rights. “
Meet Jim and John here in this touching video the Cincinnati Enquirer made of their wedding. Plaintiff Jim Obergefell notes that the case has urgency:
John has limited time due to ALS. We want nothing more than for our marriage to count in the place we call home. Not recognizing our marriage is hurtful, discriminatory and simply wrong. We hope that this can be one small step toward making marriage equality a reality in Ohio and perhaps in all 50 states.