COLUMBUS -- A federal judge has stayed most of a ruling he issued earlier this week that would require the state to recognize same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere, pending further legal proceedings.
Judge Timothy S. Black did order the state to issue birth certificates with the same-gender parents' names included, as requested by several couples who sued on the issue.
Otherwise, Black wrote, "... the Court acknowledges that recognition of same-sex marriages is a hotly contested issue in the contemporary legal landscape and ... the absence of a stay as to this court's ruling of facial unconstitutionality is likely to lead to confusion, potential inequality and high costs. These considerations lead the court to conclude that the public interest would best be served by granting a stay."
He added, "Premature celebration and confusion to not serve anyone's best interests."
Wednesday's stay was expected, as Black noted in a lengthy footnote in his decision earlier in the week that he was not inclined to delay his order for pregnant gay couples due to give birth in coming months.
The case involves four same-gender couples who were married in out-of-state ceremonies and who want to put their spouses' names on birth certificates.
Three of the women involved are pregnant by means of artificial insemination and expected to give birth later this year. One male couple has an Ohio-born adopted son.
In his original decision, Black found that there was no "legitimate justification for the state's ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and, therefore, Ohio's marriage recognition bans are facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances."
Ohio voters amended the constitution in 2004 to prohibit gay marriage.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.