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Hearing scheduled in federal challenge to Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban today to address funeral director’s legal standing

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Ohio state sealA hearing will take place this afternoon in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the federal challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Tomorrow’s hearing will focus on whether the judge should dismiss one of the newly added plaintiffs. The order setting the hearing lists the questions that the lawyers for both sides should focus on:

(1) whether the Court can rely on the affidavits of Mr. Grunn and Mr. Obergefell in deciding the Motion to Dismiss; (2) whether a close relationship exists between Mr. Grunn and the parties whose rights he is attempting to vindicate; and (3) whether Mr. Grunn can state a first-party § 1983 claim based on his own rights.

Robert Grunn’s declaration is here. The filing states that he fears prosecution were he, as a funeral director, to list a deceased person’s status as “married” if they were part of a legal same-sex marriage.

The motion to dismiss argues, among other things, that Grunn’s claims are too attenuated and rest on a separate legal claim not addressed by the original lawsuit. The opposition to that motion is here. The motion argues that Grunn has standing on his own because of his fear of being prosecuted, and he also has standing on behalf of third parties.

A motion has been filed in the case asking for a permanent injunction and a declaration that the statutes banning same-sex marriage and recognition of out-of-state married same-sex couples is unconstitutional. This would prevent the state from, among other things, amending the death certificates (which have been properly recorded, for now) to remove the reference to John Arthur’s same-sex marriage.

The case is Obergefell v. Kasich.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

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