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Marriage Equality

Will the Supreme Court's Next Marriage Case Come From Ohio?

Will the Supreme Court's Next Marriage Case Come From Ohio?


Two cases involving marriage equality in Ohio are being proposed for the Supreme Court's schedule.

The Supreme Court is being urged to review the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals's ruling upholding statewide marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The sixth is the first federal appellate court to uphold any marriage ban since the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling that struck down a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its Ohio chapter, along with Lambda Lega, and private firm Gerhardstein and Branch filed the petition Friday with the court. The petition concerns two cases challenging Ohio's laws that do not recognize marriage rights for same-sex couples. Obergefell v. Hodges challenges Ohio's policy on death certificates when one member of a married same-sex couple dies, and Henry v. Hodges, which asks the state to recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples and also issue accurate birth certificates to the adopted children of those couples.

James Esseks of the ACLU said it was "profoundly unfair" that couples in Ohio were told their marriages were unlawful by the lower court's ruling.

"When you're married, you're married, no matter whether you travel or move to another state," Esseks said in a statement Friday. "The country needs a uniform rule on respect for marriage, and the Supreme Court can and should make that happen."

The Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and 10th circuits have all ruled in favor of marriage equality since the 2013 Windsor decision. Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal, said America has reached a tipping point where the lives of same-sex spouses and their families hang in the balance.

"The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling shines a spotlight on our divided country, where married same-sex couples are either respected or discriminated against, depending on where they live or even where they travel," Sommer said in a statement. "As we have learned from other historic cases like Loving v. Virginia and Lawrence v. Texas, there comes a time when the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in, and provides the answer -- on the question of marriage for same-sex couples we believe that time has come."

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