Officials in Ohio ask federal judge to stay his decision requiring recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere
April 16, 2014
UPDATE: The stay has been granted, but it doesn’t apply to the named plaintiffs. Those plaintiffs will get their relief: “Ohio shall issue birth certificates for Plaintiffs’ children which list both lawfully married same-sex spouses as parents.” Other same-sex couples who were married outside of Ohio will have to wait on the outcome of the appeal before their marriages are recognized.
When a federal judge struck down Ohio’s ban on recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside the state, he noted that a hearing would be held on the state’s verbal request for a stay. His order suggested he was inclined to stay the effects on his decision on all same-sex couples in Ohio except those named plaintiffs in the case.
In a new filing, the state urges the court to adopt that approach as well:
That is Interim Director Himes requests—in keeping with the contours outlined by the Court—that this Court stay pending appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals its Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Declaratory Judgment and Permanent Injunction (Docs. No. 28 & 29) except as it relates to the individual Plaintiffs for the issuance of the birth certificates they sought.
The state argues that staying the case would prevent harm to the state, but they also suggest there would be harm to same-sex couples if the order is not stayed:
In addition to the harms that would come with confusion in various governmental settings, a special harm arises if same-sex couples not party to this case prematurely rely on this Court’s decision, and spend time and money based on that reliance. Some might change estate plans or other arrangements. Some might even travel to other States to marry, counting—prematurely— upon Ohio’s recognition of their marriages when they return. Indeed, news reports describe efforts to do just that, based on this case.
The plaintiffs’ earlier opposition to a stay had pointed out that no federal court has ruled against same-sex couples since United States v. Windsor, arguing the plaintiffs are likely to succeed here as well, on appeal. Further, they argued the harm to same-sex couples who are deprived recognition of their marriages outweighs any potential administrative harm to the state.
A decision on the stay request is expected soon. The case is Henry v. Himes.
Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings