Henry v. Hodges (formerly Henry v. Himes)

Kelly Noe and Kelly McCracken, two of the plaintiffs in Henry v. Hodges.

The Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality affects same-sex couples and their families all across the country. Getting married? Married already and seeking legal recognition of your relationship? Planning to start a family? Read our FAQs (created through the joint efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom to Marry, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and National Center for Lesbian Rights) at marriageequalityfacts.org/
The Court’s ruling should mean that you and your same-sex partner have a right to be treated the same way as any other couple. If you’re not treated equally, we want to hear from you.


Henry v. Hodges sought recognition of out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples and their rights as parents to their children. Ohio refuses to even grant accurate birth certificates listing both parents for children born in Ohio to legally married same-sex couples. Ohio’s refusal to recognize legal marriages of same-sex couples from out of state forces the loving, committed couples to name only one parent on a child’s birth certificate. Plaintiffs include four married couples seeking both recognition of their marriages in Ohio as well as, most urgently, an order requiring the State to place the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their babies. Three of the couples conceived using donors and gave birth in Ohio hospitals. The fourth couple are married men living in New York City whose adopted son was born in Ohio.


  • February 2014 Lambda Legal joins Al Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch, in in a suit filed in federal court on behalf of four same-sex couples.
  • April 2014 Ohio federal court announces that on April 14, 2014, it will  order the state to recognize out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples and issue accurate birth certificates for children born to married same-sex couples. 
  • May 2014 After appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit consolidates Henry v. Himes with Obergefell v. Himes, another Ohio case, for purposes of submission. Obergefell also seeks recognition of out-of-state marriages in Ohio.
  • August 2014 Oral arguments on the consolidated Ohio marriage cases occur, alongside cases from Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Cases from two of the other states include claims for marriage equality in addition to the recognition of out-of-state marriages, and the Sixth Circuit is expected to rule on both questions.

  • November 6, 2014 The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld as constitutional bans on marriage rights for same-sex couples in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, becoming the first federal circuit court after the Supreme Court’s watershed 2013 Windsor ruling to uphold such bans and departing from recent decisions from the 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th Circuits.

  • November 14, 2014 Lambda Legal, the ACLU and private firm Gerhardstein & Branch filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ aberrant ruling upholding discriminatory bans on marriage rights for same-sex couples in Ohio and three other states.

  • January 16, 2015 The U. S. Supreme Court grants review of this case, alongside other marriage equality and recognition cases from the 6th Circuit. The high court has set the stage for final resolution of the debate about marriage equality for same-sex couples across the country.

  • April 28, 2015 Oral arguments held before the Supreme Court in the combined cases now known as Obergefell v. Hodges. The court considered two questions: Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that was legally licensed and performed in another state?


    June 26, 2015 Victory! In a historic decision on the combined cases, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution. The Court’s decision invalidates all state statutes and constitutional amendments barring same-sex couples from marriage.


Case Information

Status: Closed
Outcome: Landmark Case, Victory


Lambda Legal
Susan Sommer
Jon Davidson
Camilla Taylor
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan
Currey Cook
Paul Castillo

Al Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch; Jennifer Branch, Jaci Gonzales Martin, Ellen Essig and Lisa Meeks of Cincinnati.