What Do Ohio’s Cases Involve?

CINCINNATI (AP) – Ohio’s two cases involve rights for gay and lesbian couples at the beginning of life and at the end. One case involves two gay men whose spouses were dying. They sued to win the right to be listed as the surviving spouses on their husbands’ death certificates and for their spouses to be listed as having been married.

Cincinnati lawyer Al Gerhardstein said the state’s refusal to recognize out-of-state gay marriages violates the dignity of same-sex couples and amounts to unique discrimination, since Ohio has historically recognized marriages in other states that wouldn’t be legal in Ohio, such as between cousins or involving minors.

Eric Murphy, Ohio’s state solicitor, said that the state has traditionally defined marriage as between a man and a woman and that same-sex marriage is too new to be considered a deeply rooted, fundamental right.

A federal judge ruled in their favor. In a separate lawsuit, three lesbian couples in Ohio and one gay couple living in New York sued to have both spouses listed on their children’s birth certificates. One woman in each Ohio couple was pregnant and gave birth this summer, while the New York couple adopted an Ohio child.

In a ruling, Ohio was ordered to list both spouses of each couple on their children’s birth certificates. The judge also issued a broader ruling in the case, ordering Ohio to recognize all gay marriages performed legally in other states. That’s on hold pending appeal.