Timothy BlackOhio only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman.  In 2004 Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved  (61.71% to 38.29%) a constitutional amendment defining marriage to be between one man and one woman. Federal District Court Judge Timothy Black on Monday ordered that John Arthur’s death certificate (who is near death) show that he was married and that James Obergefell is his surviving spouse.  They flew to Maryland that issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Arthur and Obergefell sued Ohio Govenror John Kasish, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and a Cincinnati official responsible for issuing death certificates in order to have the death certificate changed so that Obergefell could be buried in Arthur’s family plot located in a cemetery that only allows descendants and spouses.

ABC News reports:

Obergefell said Tuesday that he and Arthur’s fight was about more than just a piece of paper.

“To have a federal judge say, ‘You know what, John and Jim, your relationship exists and it’s just as valid as any other married couple,'” Obergefell said. “It’s an incredible feeling — that we do matter.”

Though Black’s order was specific to the couple’s case, opponents of Ohio’s ban on gay marriage were encouraged by it.

“This is one more step toward marriage equality in the state of Ohio,” said the couple’s attorney, Al Gerhardstein, who said he’s gotten calls from other same-sex couples who married in other states and are exploring their options to have their marriage recognized in Ohio….

…. In his ruling, Black said that historically, Ohio law has recognized out-of-state marriages as valid as long as they were legal where they took place, pointing to marriages between cousins and involving minors.

“How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single out same-sex marriages as ones it will not recognize?” Black wrote. “The short answer is that Ohio cannot.”

This is a sad circumstance, no doubt, but yes Ohio can.  They have a Constitutional Amendment that forbids marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples and for their marriages to be recognized in the state of Ohio.  The Supreme Court, when it struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage, act did state that the definition of marriage has traditionally been up to states.  Ohio doesn’t have to recognize marriages between cousins and involving minors if they chose not to, but the difference with those is that they are involving – one man and one woman.  Judge Black is comparing apples to oranges.

This is exactly why the Federal Defense of Marriage act was passed so other states would not be forced to adopt another state’s redefinition of marriage.  This is an example of why it would have been helpful for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on California’s Proposition 8.  Can Federal judges ignore or overturn state constitutional amendments?  I’d say in most circumstances no they shouldn’t unless there is a compelling Constitutional argument that a person’s enumerated rights spelled out in the Constitution are violated.  There is no right to redefine marriage or, frankly, even a right to a marriage license.  I know some would argue the government shouldn’t even issue marriage licenses – I can sympathize with that viewpoint, but the horse is already out-of-the-barn on that.  It’s instances like fuel that help make the case for a Federal marriage amendment if Federal courts continue to insert themselves.

States have always been able to determine their own marriage laws and issuing marriages licenses to one man and one woman is demonstrating equal protection under the law.  Every man and every woman in states like Ohio have the ability to marry one (willing) spouse of the opposite sex – provided it’s not an incestuous relationship and they are not minors.

If those who advocate changing the definition of marriage continue to push their agenda on states like Ohio through federal courts – perhaps we should do the same with say – conceal carry permits.  At least we can point to the 2nd Amendment, and the U.S. Supreme Court has come down in favor of gun rights.  Those who have carry permits in states with looser laws should move to Illinois and New York and sue to have their permits recognized.  After all isn’t turnabout fair play?

Photo: Judge Timothy Black (via Linkedin)

11 comments
  1. Amen! Times are changing and they are changing quick! The other day PA clerks also ignored the law and issued marriage licenses to gay couples. PEOPLE ARE WAKING UP TO THE REALITY THAT EVERYONE DESERVES EQUAL RIGHTS- not just the majority!!!

  2. Shane–

    What do you think a federal marriage amendment will do other than to cause harm to couples and families? Besides, we’ve reached the point where getting 38 states to approve such an amendment is highly unlikely–as of next week we’ll have 13 states with same-sex marriage.

    You say the definition of marriage has been up to the states, but then you say there is no right to redefine marriage. Huh?

    We’ve been tinkering with marriage over the years, from adjusting marriage ages to making married women no longer the legal extension of their husbands, but legal entities in their own right.

    And finally, your “Every man and every woman in states like Ohio have the ability to marry one (willing) spouse of the opposite sex ” is becoming as outdated as the supposed equal protection afforded to people who are required to marry within their own race.

  3. Leftists and libertines of various political stripes are giddy in their revolutionary fervor to overthrow barriers to their jaded lifestyles and nihilistic philosophies.

  4. Thanks to our lord and savior and Jesus that My state does not allow or recognize this perversion.

    1. What state is that? Also, what do you say to Jesus about the states where same-sex marriage is legal?

      1. I say that man has made the rules. We live in a society that worships the creation and not the creator.

      2. That doesn’t really answer my question. If someone can thank Jesus for not having same-sex marriage in his state, what does one say to Jesus if he lives in a state that permits SSM?

      3. Thanks to our Lord and Saviour Jesus [look, properly capitalized!] that my state does allow and recognize this new understanding of human relationship and love!

        …all the conservative fuss over SSM reminds me of all the Jewish Christians getting bent out of shape over the perversion of Gentile Christians not having to become Jews to be followers of Christ…

  5. In Ohio, ALL marriages performed elsewhere which would not be permitted in Ohio (1st cousin and under the age of consent) have been recognized for 200 years. Only gay marriages are set apart and not recognized. This is a clear violation of Romer, which says that gays cannot be treated differently.

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