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.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 3, 2013
A victory for watery beer lovers everywhere: The
MillerCoors brewing company in Colorado, the nation’s biggest
stand-alone brewery, is now landfill-free. WORLD +2
4 Comments · Wednesday, July 3, 2013
I have noticed during more than 25 years
of paying attention to it that many gays and lesbians of color in this
still greatly segregated city further segregate ourselves because
sometimes we feel pressure to choose
between our selves of color and our same-sex-loving selves.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 26, 2013
To get a glimpse inside the
lives of the people of Pride in the Queen City, we’ve collected personal interviews with prominent
members of city’s LGBTQ community to discuss what it’s like to be gay in
Cincinnati today and what they’re doing to make this city a more open
1 Comment · Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I’d pay to see a lineup of all
the children and grandchildren of right-wingers — especially those
directly responsible for legally shoving their definitions of “family”
down all our throats — all come out publicly in a public square. I bet there are a shit-ton of ’em.
Looking back on a progressive year in the fight for equality
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 27, 2012
From federal legislation to local initiatives and activism, Cincinnati's LGBT community has many triumphs to look back on during the past year.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Boston on May 31 ruled that the 16-year Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
is unconstitutional for banning federal benefits for married same-sex
couples. The Court’s three judges ruled
unanimously that DOMA is discriminatory because it denies equal rights
to same-sex married couples.