American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Federal judge orders Ohio to recognize marriages performed out-of-state

In his second ruling supporting marriage equality, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black ruled Ohio’s ban on recognizing lawful marriages performed out-of-state for gay and lesbian couples is unconstitutional as it violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

 “Ohio’s marriage recognition bans are facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances.”

 This official ruling comes 10 days after Judge Black had announced in court after a hearing for the case, Henry v. Wymyslo, he intended to strike down the ban.

 “The Court anticipates striking down as unconstitutional under all circumstances Ohio’s bans on recognizing legal same-sex marriages from other states.” – Docket entry: April 4, 2014

 It was widely speculated that Judge Black notified the attorneys of his forthcoming decision so that the state would have adequate time to prepare an appeal.

The state is likely to appeal this ruling, and that appeal would join Black’s earlier decision regarding marriage equality that is before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In that case, Obergefell v. Wymyslo, Black ordered state officials to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples on death certificates.

Both decisions fall short of halting state officials from enforcing the state’s ban on performing marriages for gay and lesbian couples. Yet, a pro-equality decision in the Michigan case about full marriage rights, DeBoer v. Snyder, which is also before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, may have a precedential impact in Ohio.

Read the decision here: