Victory! Ohio Court Announces It Will Declare Ban on Recognition of Out of State Marriages of Same-sex Couples Unconstitutional

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‘Ohio’s discriminatory laws…created not only a second-class of families by nullifying legal marriages from other states, but also a second-class of parents, where one could be listed on a birth certificate, and one could not.’
April 4, 2014

(Cincinnati, OH, April 4, 2014) — Today, a federal court in Ohio announced that it will declare Ohio’s ban on recognizing out of state marriages of same-sex couples unconstitutional. The ruling, expected on April 14th, is also expected to say that Ohio law violates the full faith and credit clause by not honoring a New York adoption decree and allowing both married same-sex parents on a birth certificate.

After today’s court hearing, Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal, issued the following statement.

“We’re thrilled that the judge announced today in court that he will issue a ruling declaring Ohio’s ban on recognizing out-of-state marriages unconstitutional, and requiring Ohio to give full faith and credit to our clients’ out-of-state adoption decree. The judge’s ruling, expected on April 14th, will bring much needed relief to same-sex couples whose marriages are disrespected by Ohio’s discriminatory laws, which created not only a second-class of families by nullifying legal marriages from other states, but also a second-class of parents, where one could be listed on a birth certificate, and one could not. Children will have the security of both parents listed on their birth certificates, a vital document in a child’s day-to-day life.”

Plaintiffs include four married same-sex couples seeking an order requiring the State to place the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children. Three lesbian couples are expecting children to be born in Ohio. One of the couples is a married same-sex couple living in New York City whose adopted son was born in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health, the agency charged with issuing birth certificates, is not issuing or amending  birth certificates to name both parents.

Susan Sommer, Director of Constitutional Litigation for Lambda Legal, joins Al Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch, as well as Jennifer Branch, Jaci Gonzales Martin, Ellen Essig and Lisa Meeks of Cincinnati. Also on the case for Lambda Legal is M. Curry Cook, National Director of the Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project  and Paul Castillo, Staff Attorney.

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