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The Supreme Court's decision striking down part, but not all, of the Defense of Marriage Act is starting to make itself felt in challenges to the other parts of DOMA. In Ohio, that's happening in an immediate and personal way, with a married couple pressing to have their marriage recognized by the state of Ohio after the death of one, which is expected soon due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). And they have a federal judge backing them up:
“The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse,’” Judge Timothy Black wrote in granting the couple a temporary restraining order Monday. The order is in effect until 5 p.m. Aug. 5, unless the court extends the order at a later date.
“By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex
marriages,” the judge concluded, Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and Ohio’s statute addressing the same issue “likely violate the United States Constitution.”
The city of Cincinnati's position is that "The City will not defend Ohio’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages, but the City’s vital statistics registrar is bound to follow Ohio law until that law is changed or overturned." Republican Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is defending discrimination in court, and Republican Gov. John Kasich also opposes equality. Of course. How discriminatory is that law? If you're married to someone of the opposite sex, even if it wouldn't be legal for you to marry in Ohio—if you're first cousins, for instance—Ohio will recognize your marriage. But it won't recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed legally in other states.
Arthur and Obergefell have been together for more than 20 years, and flew to Maryland this month to be legally married on the tarmac at the airport in the medically equipped jet their family, friends, and a hospice organization helped make possible. Now they're making a last stand for recognition of their relationship and those of other people. Talk about an amazing way to use your last weeks of life.
Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 07:28 AM PDT.