Judge Rules State Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriage On Death Certificates

Dec 23, 2013

A federal judge has declared Ohio's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional when it applies to death certificates.

In his decision today, Judge Timothy Black orders state officials to recognize such unions on death certificates.

Although his ruling applies narrowly, his statements about Ohio's gay-marriage ban are sweeping and expected to incite further litigation challenging the law. In his lengthy decision, the Cincinnati-based judge says that "once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away." He says the U.S. Constitution recognizes the right to remain married as a fundamental liberty. Black's decision stems from a lawsuit filed in July by two gay Ohio men whose spouses recently died and wanted to be recognized on their death certificates as married.

 Attorney General Mike DeWine says Black's decision wasn't a surprise, given the Cincinnati-based judge's earlier rulings in the case. DeWine says the state will ask the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn it.