(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.