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Federal Judge Rules For Gay Marriage In Ohio

Posted On April 15, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

2819442.jpg(Cincinnati, Oh.) – Same-sex marriages will be recognized across Ohio, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black in Cincinnati ordered Monday the state to validate same-sex unions that were performed legally in other states, saying failure to do so denied couples their equal-protection rights.

“The record before this court … is staggeringly devoid of any legitimate justification for the state’s ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Black stated in his ruling.

The order, however, does not allow same-sex marriages to be performed in Ohio.

Black said he’s prepared to issue a stay of his decision this week, allowing it to be appealed. The stay would also prevent Ohio’s same-sex couples from seeing any immediate expansion of their marriage rights or recognition, except for the four couples who filed the federal lawsuit last February.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the Associated Press he will fight to protect Ohio’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. The state will file an appeal to uphold the constitutional ban approved by Ohio voters in 2004.

In response to Monday’s ruling, a spokesman for Ohio Governor John Kasich released a statement:

“The governor believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, he supports Ohio’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and we’re glad the attorney general is appealing the ruling.”

Unrelated to Black’s ruling, DeWine on Monday certified the petition for a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn the 2004 same-sex marriage ban. The supporters of the possible ballot issue submitted the required 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio electors and a summary of the amendment. Now, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment is a single issue or multiple issues.