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Judge stays most of gay marriage ruling

By Marc Kovac | R-C Capital Bureau Published: April 17, 2014 4:00 AM

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.

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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 mkovac@dixcom.com or find him on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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anothervoice Apr 17, 2014 3:48 PM

From Judge Blacks ruling " In particular, the Court notes that given that all practicing attorneys, as well as the vast majority of all citizens in this country, are fully aware that unconstitutional laws cannot stand, even when passed by popular vote, Defendants’ repeated appeal to the purportedly sacred nature of the will of Ohio voters is particularly specious." He quotes Judge John Heyburn II "The beauty of our Constitution is that is accommodates our individual faith’s definition of marriage while preventing the government from unlawfully treating us differently. This is hardly surprising since it was written by people who came to America to find both freedom of religion and freedom from it."

redleg6 Apr 17, 2014 3:05 PM

From:  judgepedia.org/Timothy_S._Black

Timothy S. Black is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio....President Obama nominated Black for the court on December 24, 2009. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 20, 2010, and was confirmed by the Senate on a voice vote on May 11, 2010.....

From: www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2014/0/ohio_rep_john_becker

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Rep. John Becker, a Republican from Union Township, is calling once again for the impeachment of federal Judge Timothy Black, who said last week he intends to strike down part of Ohio's same-sex marriage ban.

Becker, one of the House GOP's most conservative members, has introduced a resolution to urge the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Black, a federal judge for the Southern District of Ohio. Black was appointed to the court in 2009 by President Obama, following recommendation from a bipartisan panel of Ohio judges.

Becker is the sole sponsor of the resolution.

Black ruled in December 2013 that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates. He previously made similar rulings in specific cases on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Becker, in a statement Monday, called Black's judgements "an epic display of arrogance and incompetence." Becker said Black wrongly asks the state to recognize "homosexual marriage" and disregard the Ohio Constitution, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Ohio voters added that language to the Ohio Constitution in 2004, with nearly 62 percent of the vote.

"The federal government has an ever growing propensity to violate state sovereignty. Although this has been a trend since the early 19th century, it has accelerated exponentially in recent decades," Becker said in a statement. "Rather than the solution, the federal judiciary has been the primary problem... This will begin the process of restoring state sovereignty back to the original intent of the U.S. Constitution."

The resolution has been pending in the House Judiciary Committee since November and has yet to have a first hearing.


stanback Apr 17, 2014 8:39 AM

I understand that some like to twist and rearrange news to fit their personal beliefs but that doesn't change the facts. Ohio voters voted to prohibit gay marriage in the state of Ohio and this has not changed. So, this judge did not rule that your vote is not justified nor did he rule that the Constitution is unconstitutional, no matter how hard some would like you to believe that.

amt_ Apr 17, 2014 6:30 AM

Unelected Obama-appointed liberal extremist judge rules that there is "no legitimate justification" for you voters to vote the way you did.

Why bother to vote when a judge can rule that your vote is not justified?

Why bother to have a Constitution when a judge can rule that the Constitution is unconstitutional?