The opinion begins:
This is not a complicated case. The issue is whether the State of Ohio can discriminate against same sex marriages lawfully solemnized out of state, when Ohio law has historically and unambiguously provided that the validity of a marriage is determined by whether it complies with the law of the jurisdiction where it was celebrated.More below.
Throughout Ohio’s history, Ohio law has been clear: a marriage solemnized
outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where solemnized. Thus, for example,
under Ohio law, out-of-state marriages between first cousins are recognized by Ohio,
even though Ohio law does not authorize marriages between first cousins. Likewise,
under Ohio law, out of state marriages of minors are recognized by Ohio, even though
Ohio law does not authorize marriages of minors.
How then can Ohio, especially given the historicalstatus of Ohio law, single out
same sex marriages as ones it will not recognize? The short answer is that Ohio cannot
at least not under the circumstances here.
By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex
marriages(e.g., marriages of first cousins and marriages of minors), Ohio law, as applied
to these Plaintiffs, likely violates the United States Constitution which guarantees that
"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall ... deny to any person within its
jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.
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 forJohn Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as "married" and James Obergefell as his "surviving spouse."
The amazing thing about this story is that James and Arthur got married on July 11, 2013. In other words, it took just 11 days from the time of their marriage until the court entered a temporary restraining order barring entry of a death certificate that fails to recognize a marriage performed in Maryland.
I would encourage you to read the decision. It is plainly written, easy to understand, and only fifteen pages: ORDER.
Look for lots of commentary on this issue coming soon. I am too busy to provide my analysis right now, but I will point out that this order is only good for 14 days. After that, the judge will have to enter a preliminary injunction, which will be good indefinitely while the case makes its way through the system. Reading this order, there is no way the judge will not extend the TRO into an injunction.
Finally, I did a quick search and didn't see anything. If there is already a diary about this, please let me know.