Suit Aims to Strike Down Ohio Marriage Ban

The suit, filed today, is in addition to one calling on the state to recognize out-of-state same-sex unions.

BY Trudy Ring

April 30 2014 7:38 PM ET

A lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati seeks to strike down Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The suit, filed on behalf of six couples, argues that the state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses, the Associated Press reports.

In a separate suit, a federal judge has already ruled that Ohio should recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, but his ruling is on hold while the state appeals it, except as it affects the four couples who brought the suit. Federal District Magistrate Timothy Black ruled April 16 that the state must immediately recognize those couples’ unions.

Regarding today’s suit, lead attorney Jennifer Branch issued a statement saying, “The couples in this case are in love and deeply committed. They want to get married. Some have been engaged for years but cannot marry here, at home, surrounded by family and friends, because Ohio forbids it.  Ohio’s unequal treatment of these couples is unconstitutional and cannot continue. Nobody’s constitutional rights can be voted away.” Her firm, Cincinnati-based Gerhardstein and Branch, is involved in both cases.  

“We are just like any other couple,” said Gary Goodman, who with partner Karl Rece Jr. is a plaintiff in the suit filed today, the AP reports. Goodman proposed to Rece in 2011, and they hope to marry at Christmas.

“We love each other dearly. I would die for him,” Goodman told the AP. “We just want the simplest thing: We want to be able to marry here in Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio, and we want it to be something that we share with our friends and our family because it’s right.”

In addition to the court cases, FreedomOhio is circulating petitions to put a measure before voters that would repeal the ban on same-sex marriage.
 

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