U.S. District Judge Timothy Black gave the state until Tuesday afternoon to file arguments on why the stay should remain in place while his ruling is appealed. He set a Monday afternoon deadline for lawyers for the eight plaintiffs.
Black said 10 days ago that he planned to rule that valid gay marriages contracted elsewhere in the United States should be recognized in Ohio. He made that decision formal Monday.
The lawsuit was brought by four couples who have adopted children and sought birth certificates reflecting their marital status. Black said there was a "backward evolution in Ohio" on the issue when Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland was replaced in 2011 by Republican John Kasich.
The judge called the shift "yet another manifestation of the irrational animus motivating defendants' discriminatory treatment of lesbian and gay families.”
A spokesman for Attorney General Mike DeWine said he will allow the plaintiffs to obtain the birth certificates they seek even if the stay remains in place. The attorney general plans to appeal the ruling.
In 2004, Ohio adopted a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage. Black's ruling does not directly affect that.
18 states, including all of New England and most of the mid-Atlantic region, plus the District of Columbia, now recognize same-sex marriage.
"This ruling is about love, stability and family; and it is a victory for the families that have been denied equality under the law," said Michael Premo of Why Marriages Matter Ohio. "We thank Judge Black for his ruling, which is a great step in the right direction toward full marriage equality.”
A Kasich spokesman said the governor supported the 2004 amendment and welcomes DeWine's decision to appeal Black's ruling.
[The Columbus Dispatch]
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