Federal Judge Questions Constitutionality Of Ohio's Gay Marriage Ban

Dec 18, 2013

A federal judge is questioning whether Ohio can continue to deny the validity of same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Judge Timothy Black's comments came Wednesday during arguments in federal court in Cincinnati over whether gay marriages should be recognized on Ohio death certificates.

In 2004 Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages; Black says the stakes are high and that his ruling could serve as starting point for further litigation.  This summer, Black ruled that married status of two men should be reflected on their death certificates.

Civil rights attorneys argue that Ohio has traditionally recognized out-of-state marriages if they were legal where they took place, citing marriages between cousins and involving minors. Attorneys for the state say that because Ohio voters banned gay marriage in 2004, the state has the right to refuse to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.

Black is expected to issue a ruling within the next two weeks.