Target: U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black
Goal: Support state recognition of same-sex marriage for couples married in a different state
A U.S. federal judge recently ruled that a same-sex couple in Ohio could be protected from the laws of the state that ban same-sex marriage. One of the husbands is terminally ill, and wanted his partner to attain federal benefits at the time of his death.
Although the Defense of Marriage Act was recently repealed, allowing for federal recognition of same-sex marriages in the United States, controversy still exists at the state level in terms of recognition of same-sex marriage. The couple in question, John Arthur and James Obergefell, were legally married in Maryland but reside in Ohio, a state with a constitution that does not recognize or protect the rights of any type of same-sex union.
When the couple discovered that one of the husbands was terminally ill and that Ohio would not allow the other husband’s name to be on the death certificate, they brought their case to court. United States District Judge Timothy S. Black ruled on the case, indicating that it was unconstitutional for Ohio not to provide the same benefits to the same-sex couple that the state would to heterosexual couples. Specifically, the judge indicated that Ohio recognizes heterosexual marriages even when they were performed in another state, and therefore must give the same recognition to same-sex marriages when legally performed out of state.
The judge cites the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause in his decision, saying that Ohio’s practices in not allowing the surviving spouse’s name on the death certificate would violate this clause.
Black provided the husbands with a temporary restraining order that will prohibit the state from taking any actions in terms of the constitutional same-sex marriage ban. This means that the surviving spouse’s name will appear on the death certificate, as Black also stated that the Ohio registrar cannot accept the death certificate unless the spouse’s name is listed, and the couple is documented as “married.”
By signing the petition below you will be praising U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black for protecting the rights of this same-sex couple.
Dear U.S. District Judge Timothy Black,
The protection of the rights of same-sex couples is extremely important in today’s society, particularly when members of the LGBTQ community face daily discrimination. Allowing same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples is imperative for meaningful and progressive change.
I am writing you to commend you for your ruling protecting the rights of John Arthur and James Obergefell. Your decision that Ohio must recognize their same-sex marriage just as the state would recognize any heterosexual marriage that occurred out-of-state is extremely important in showing federal support for same-sex couples. This ruling shows not only your own compassion and humanity but a correct interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause and a commitment to equality and an end to discrimination based on sexuality. Thank you for true defense of marriage — same-sex included.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Kurt Löwenstein Educational Center International Team via Wikimedia Commons