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Federal Judge Says He Will Rule Against Ohio’s Ban on Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage

Friday, April 4, 2014 at 1:24 PM

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A federal judge in Cincinnati says he will strike down Ohio’s ban on recognizing same-sex unions performed in other states. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.

Ohio Public Radio member station WVXU reports Judge Timothy Black says he will issue his ruling April 14.

“The Court anticipates striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio’s bans on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states,” read minutes from today’s federal court hearing in the case.

Cincinnati area Attorney Al Gerhardstein, the attorney who has been fighting the state’s ban on recognizing gay marriages performed in other states for purposes of death and birth certificates, said Black’s ruling will have wide-ranging effects for same-sex couples married out-of-state.

“What this means is Judge Black is saying that he will declare the marriage recognition ban in Ohio unconstitutional,” Gerhardstein told Ohio Public Radio. “So that if you are in a same sex marriage from another state and you come to Ohio, Ohio will have to recognize your marriage. That has implications for death certificates, birth certificates, taxes, bequests, child custody privileges in court. There will be many, many ramifications from this ruling.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told WVXU he will appeal the ruling.

“We felt based on his preliminary rulings that something like this would happen,” DeWine said. “And that’s fine, we will take it up to the Sixth Circuit.”

DeWine said he expects the issue ultimately will be decided in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dan Tierney, a spokesman for DeWine, said even if the judge does what Gerhardstein says, it won’t make gay marriage legal in Ohio.

“The order would be limited to the recognition of marriages performed outside the state of Ohio according to other states’ laws,” Tierney told Ohio Public Radio. “It does not address the overall issue of the law as performed in the state of Ohio.”

Voters in Ohio passed the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004.

With reporting by Ann Thompson of Ohio Public Radio member station WVXU.

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