Mon July 22, 2013
Update: Judge issues TRO in gay marriage lawsuit
Update: Judge Black has granted the temporary restraining order. This means Ohio is now prohibited, in the event of Arthur's death, from issuing a death certificate that doesn't indicate that he was married and name his spouse.
Saying it's unconstitutional to single out a group of people just because the have differing views, Federal Judge Timothy Black promised to act expeditiously Monday in the case of a Cincinnati same-sex couple married in Maryland who want their marriage recognized in Ohio.
Jim Obergefell testified his partner, John Arthur, is dying of ALS and only has a matter of days or weeks. "He's been my world, he's been my life," says Obergefell. "We've been in a committed relationship and family and friends treat us as a married couple. Ohio should reflect and respect our 20 years of marriage."
The two were married July 11, 2013 on a tarmac in Maryland after flying there on a medically-equipped plane.
Seeking to take baby steps
Attorney Al Gerhardstein, representing Obergefell and Arthur, said "This is a problem the state created. Let's try to address this issue responsibly today." He seeks a temporary restraining order to essentially put the case on hold until it's decided permanently. This would also give the ability to amend the death certificate to include "married" and a spouse's name.
Need to put the brakes on
Attorney Bridget Koontz from the Ohio Attorney General's Office argued "the court cannot go out on a legal limb." She says it could be years before this issue is settled and we "need to put the brakes on." She says this is a sympathetic case but "we have to keep in mind why we are here today."
Along with the State of Ohio, the City of Cincinnati is listed as a defendant. Cincinnati says it will not defend Ohio's amendment to the constitution that voters passed in 2004, banning same-sex marriage.