Marriage Litigation Rulings

On December 23, 2013,  a federal judge held in Obergefell v. Wymyslo that the state of Ohio must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states for the purpose of listing surviving spouses on death certificates.

In April 2014, in a separate federal case, Henry v. Himes, the same judge held that Ohio must respect all married same-sex couples who wed in other states for all purposes. Both cases were brought by private law firms, Gerhardstein & Branch Co., LPA and Newman & Meeks Co., LPA, with the ACLU joining Obergefell on appeal and Lambda Legal joining Henry.

On November 6, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the freedom to marry. The plaintiffs appealed this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has now scheduled oral arguments in the case on April 28th.

KEY LINES FROM THE OHIO RULINGS:

“Once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away, because the right to remain married is properly recognized as a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.” – Judge Timothy Black, Obergefell v. Wymyslo

“The record before the Court, which includes the judicially-noticed record in Obergefell, is staggeringly devoid of any legitimate justification for the State’s ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and, therefore, Ohio’s marriage recognition bans are facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances.” – Judge Timothy Black, Henry v. Himes