by Hannah McCartney
Plaintiffs: Out-of-state same-sex marriages must be treated equally
A gay couple living in Ohio has filed a lawsuit today against the state of Ohio for failing to recognize their Maryland-certified same-sex marriage, which they claim is discriminatory because the state is required to recognize any certified heterosexual marriage from another state as valid. Jim Obergefell and John Arthur, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive and disabling neurological disease that causes muscles to rapidly deteriorate, traveled to Maryland last week to officially tie the knot after remaining as partners for 20 years, reports Cincinnati.com. The trip reportedly cost nearly $13,000 for a chartered, medically-equipped plane, all of which was sourced by donations from friends and family. Arthur, 47, is a bed-ridden hospice patient and was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. In a press release from Gerhardstein & Branch, the legal association representing the couple, Obergefell stated that not recognizing Arthur's marriage on his death certificate, when the time comes, would be unconstitutional. "It is the final record of a citizen's life. It must be accurate. We hope that this can be one small step toward making marriage equality a reality in Ohio and perhaps all 50 states," he noted. Attorney Al Gerhardstein, who is representing Arthur and Obergefell, cites the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause, noting that the Supreme Court's historic overturn of DOMA has stripped states of the right to discriminate against couples who seek same-sex marriages. "John and James were validly married in Maryland. If they were an opposite sex couple, Ohio would recognize their marriage. Being a same-sex couple is no longer a good enough reason to deny them equal rights.”As an example, he explains that should two first cousins fall in love in the state of Ohio, they can't be wed in Ohio and have their union recognized; however, should they travel to Georgia, where marrying your first cousin is legal, they could come back to Ohio and have a recognizable union under state law, enjoying the same benefits as any other heterosexual married couple in Ohio. The same rules would follow for other stipulations prohibited under Ohio law, such as getting married underage in another state where the union would be legal. Defense attorneys Terry Nester and Bridget Koontz were not available for comment. CityBeat will update this story with any changes. Gerhardstein told CityBeat that the plaintiffs will go before U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black on Monday, July 22, to ask for an expedited ruling in light of Arthur's rapidly deteriorating condition. "Had the Supreme Court made this decision one year ago, this would have been as simple as us taking a trip because I could still walk. It's the progression for me of the ALS, it's...it's just compounded everything," he told Cincinnati.com camera crews earlier this week.
by Bill Sloat
Posted In: News
at 03:20 PM | Permalink
Retired football players die at high rates of Alzheimer’s and ALS
So much for glory days on the gridiron. Playing pro
football makes it far more likely than normal a brain can turn into
mush. And there’s elevated likelihood these once powerful bodies will
shut themselves down with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Disturbing new data from the National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health lab in Cincinnati says retired NFL
players are dying from Alzheimer disease and amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis at rates four times higher than the U.S. population. Other
neurodegenerative diseases kill retired NFL players at about twice the norm.
The study appears in this month’s issue of Neurology, a medical journal affiliated with the American Academy of Neurology.
Overall, retired football players live longer and are
healthier than most Americans, especially the linemen. But some of the
players who passed, caught and defended are clearly beset by excessive
amounts of neurodegenerative disorders later in the lives.
Former quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks, receivers,
defensive backs, linebackers and safeties comprise the biggest group of
former players who suffer. All were in the so-called “speed” positions,
players who took hits that included high-acceleration head impacts.
For the pro football study, the Cincinnati-based research
team looked at health records of 3,439 retired NFL players who had five
seasons in the league between 1959 and 1988. The researchers tracked
down 334 death certificates across the nation. Of those, 17 had a
neurodegenerative disorder listed as the cause of death; 14 had been in
(Cardiovascular disease claimed 126 of the ex-NFL players; cancer took 85).
The NIOSH team said their findings add to a growing
collection of evidence that shows football players face an increased
risk of neurodegenerative disease. Most previous studies have focused on
long-term health effects of repeated concussions. Besides finding
increased death rates from Alzheimer’s, ALS (which often is called Lou
Gehrig’s Disease) and Parkinson disease (about three times the national
rate), the Cincinnati scientists raised an entirely new concern. They
said football players have elevated death rates from chronic traumatic
encephalopathy, which is a pathologically distinct neurodegenerative
condition. It sets in years after head-knocking and is linked to a
progressive decline in neuron functioning. It can change the ability to
think and makes it difficult to move about because the brain doesn’t
work as it should.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which goes by the
initials CTE, isn’t reported on many death certificates because the
diagnosis has only been recently recognized.
Everett J. Lehman was lead author of the study; others who
worked on it were Misty Hein, Sherry L. Baron and Christine M. Gersic. The
researchers said their findings cannot be applied to other professional
sports. And the team says more information is needed about the impact
of football injuries:
“Because our cohort was limited to longer-term
professional players, our findings may not be applicable to other
professional and nonprofessional football players. However, recent
autopsy studies have reported pathologic findings of CTE in college-age
and professional football players with relatively short playing careers.
We did not have data on player injuries and conductions. If
chronic mild to moderate concussion is an actual risk factor for
neurodegenerative mortality, the magnitude of the risk may depend on the
intensity and frequency of brain injuries incurred over a number of
years. … Finally, we did not have information on environmental, genetic
or other risk factors for neurologic disorders.”NIOSH did not say it found a cause and effect for the
higher than normal number of Alzheimer and ALS deaths. But the
scientists said they had no doubt “that professional football players
are at an increased risk of death from neurodegenerative causes.”