BREAKING: federal court to declare Ohio ban on recognizing out of state marriages unconstitutional

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A federal judge has announced that he plans to declare Ohio’s ban on recognizing same-sex couples’ out-of-state marriages to be unconstitutional.

The ruling, which is expected to happen on April 14, will likely also require that Ohio gives “full faith and credit” to same-sex parents’ out-of-state adoption decrees, using the same rules that are applied to heterosexual parents.

Cincinnati.com reported that after hearing the final arguments in the lawsuit, US District Judge Timothy Black said, “I intend to issue a declaration that Ohio’s recognition bans, that have been relied upon to deny legal recognition to same-sex couples validly entered in other states where legal, violates the rights secured by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“[They are] denied their fundamental right to marry a person of their choosing and the right to remain married.”

A press release from Lambda Legal states that the organization “brought this case on behalf of four married same-sex couples seeking an order requiring the State to place the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children. Three of the married couples are women expecting children to be born in Ohio and one is a married same-sex couple living in New York City whose adopted son was born in Ohio. 

“We are knocking down the barriers to equality for same-sex couples and their children faster and faster across the country. Same-sex couples may not yet have the freedom to get married in Ohio, but as a result of this ruling, they have the freedom to [remain]married in Ohio. And married same-sex couples will be fully recognized as the legal parents of their children.”

The Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal, Susan Sommer, said in an official blog entry:

We’re thrilled that the judge announced today in court that he will issue a ruling declaring Ohio’s ban on recognizing out-of-state marriages unconstitutional, and requiring Ohio to give full faith and credit to our clients’ out-of-state adoption decree. The judge’s ruling, expected on April 14th, will bring much needed relief to same-sex couples whose marriages are disrespected by Ohio’s discriminatory laws, which created not only a second-class of families by nullifying legal marriages from other states, but also a second-class of parents, where one could be listed on a birth certificate, and one could not. Children will have the security of both parents listed on their birth certificates, a vital document in a child’s day-to-day life.

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