Ohio Judge: State Must Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages

A federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize any legal out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. He stayed the ruling's enforcement pending appeals.

Ohio Judge: State Must Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages

Monday a federal judge in Cincinnati ordered Ohio to recognize any legal out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples.

In a statement made more than a week before his ruling, The Columbus Dispatch reports U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black called the ban on gay marriage "facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances."

Surprisingly, Black issued a stay on enforcement of his own ruling pending the state's possible appeal. The decision does not affect Ohio's current ban on gay marriages, but it would force the state to allow married gay couples to receive state benefits. (Via WOIO, WTVD)

For now, the ruling only applies to four couples involved in a case challenging Ohio's birth certificate rules. Those rules prevent same-sex couples from adding their names to the birth certificates of any children they adopt. (Via WSYX)

According to MSNBC, last year Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a similar ruling requiring the state to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates.

DeWine, who has said in the past he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, says the state does plan to appeal Monday's ruling on grounds that it exercised its right to define its own marriage laws when citizens voted to ban gay marriage in 2004.

But activist group Freedom to Marry Ohio is already moving forward with its petition to propose an amendment that would repeal the current ban and allow same-sex couples to marry in the state.

Courts have issued similar rulings to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages in Oregon, Kentucky and Tennessee. Ohio is expected to file its appeal by Tuesday.