Federal judge orders Ohio to recognize marriage of dying gay man

In a big move, but not a surprising one (I’d argue), a federal judge in Ohio has ordered the state to immediately recognize the recent marriage of a gay Ohio couple in Maryland.


One of the two men is terminally ill, and now in hospice care, but they raised they were able to raise enough money to fly a private jet to Maryland last week, where marriages of gay people are legal, and get married on the tarmac (the dying partner in a hospital bed) before immediately flying back to Ohio.

The men, Jim Obergefell, and his ailing husband, John Arthur, sued the state of Ohio to require them to list them as married on Arthur’s impending death certificate.  The federal judge granted the couple a temporary restraining order, forcing the state to file the death certificate correctly.

More importantly, the judge mentioned the recent Supreme Court DOMA decision as part of his justification for granting the TRO.  (The case will still have to go to trial.)  More from Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed:

Looking at Ohio’s bans on recognizing same-sex couples’ out-of-state marriages, while acknowledging its recognition of the marriages of opposite-sex couples who would not be allowed to marry in Ohio, Black concluded, “The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in Windsor and in Romer: ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law.”

Welcome to the post-Windsor world.

I really think the court granted us nationwide gay marriage in all but name.  Yes, the way they did it requires us to go state-by-state and strike down individual state-DOMA laws, but that was the genius of the court’s decision.  They paid homage to the notion that the court shouldn’t upend the “democratic experiment” taking place in the states, while at the same time coming up with a decision that basically leaves the states no wiggle room to say “no” to marriage equality for gays once the state DOMAs are challenged.

So yes, it will take longer for us to get marriage in 50 states – thus a nod to the notion that the court shouldn’t change everything nationwide immediately – but at the same time, they pretty much guaranteed that we’ll win.  And this Ohio ruling is quite possibly the first evidence of that fact.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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