same-sex marriage
2:12 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Cincinnati lawsuit challenges Ohio's same-sex marriage ban

Update: U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black has scheduled a hearing Monday at 1:30 for this case. Attorneys for Jim Obergefell and John Arthur and attorneys from the Ohio Attorney General's Office will present their case.

A Cincinnati gay couple has filed a federal lawsuit to have their Maryland marriage recognized in Ohio. Since 2004 Ohio has had a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. In this case, one of the spouses is dying and attorney Al Gerhardstein has asked the court expedite this case involving Jim Obergefell and John Arthur.

John Arthur (on stretcher) and Jim Obergefell tie the knot on the tarmac in Maryaland.
Credit Baltimore Sun

"We do hope to build from here, and have this be the first step towards marriage equality in Ohio. But for now, we just want to be sure that when John dies, the death record shows him as married."

Gerhardstein says it only makes sense that the state recognize the marriage, given if first cousins go to another state and marry where it is legal, Ohio will recognize their out of state marriage.

The defendants in this lawsuit, Cincinnati and Ohio, will fight it. Attorney General Mike Dewine says, "The voters of Ohio voted on this and they made their decision. It's my obligation to defend that decision until or unless the voters change their mind."

On July 11 Obergefell and Arthur (who has ALS) took a medically-equipped private plane to Maryland to get married.

A court hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Cincinnati.