A federal judge in Ohio ordered state officials Monday to recognize the marriage of two men that was performed in Maryland on the death certificate of an Ohio resident in hospice care who the judge says “is certain to die soon.”
“The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse,’” Judge Timothy Black wrote in granting the couple a temporary restraining order Monday. The order is in effect until 5 p.m. Aug. 5, unless the court extends the order at a later date.
“By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex
marriages,” the judge concluded, Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and Ohio’s statute addressing the same issue “likely violate the United States Constitution.”
That's a pretty big dent in state same-sex marriage bans. Pretty much all the states that have state bans on performing same-sex marriages also ban state recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.
SCOTUS practically begged for a state case on banning same-sex marriage, and they'll almost certainly get one soon.
Looking at Ohio’s bans on recognizing same-sex couples’ out-of-state marriages, while acknowledging its recognition of the marriages of opposite-sex couples who would not be allowed to marry in Ohio, Black concluded, “The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in Windsor and in Romer: ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law.”
Ding ding ding!
When one of these state cases reaches SCOTUS, things are going to get interesting, I suspect.