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Second same-sex marriage to be recognized in Ohio after judge’s order

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The federal judge in Ohio who recently ordered Ohio officials to recognize a same-sex couple’s legal marriage performed elsewhere, for purposes of one spouse’s death certificate, has now ordered state officials to recognize a second couple’s same-sex marriage. The order allows the surviving spouse to join the existing lawsuit as well.

David Michener and William Herbert Ives got married in Delaware in July of this year. Then, according to the brief order, a month later Ives unexpectedly passed away. Ohio doesn’t perform marriages for same-sex couples, nor does the state recognize same-sex marriages performed out of state. Michener filed a request with Judge Timothy Black to be allowed to join the Obergefell v. Kasich lawsuit, and for a temporary restraining order blocking state officials from issuing a death certificate that doesn’t record Ives as married and Michener as his surviving spouse. Like the Obergefell plaintiffs, these plaintiffs have a “substantial likelihood of success” in their challenge to Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban.

The Washington Blade has more:

Black ruled that David Michener, the surviving spouse in the relationship, is eligible for the restraining order because of immediate need for action as well as the likely success of his claim that the state constitutional amendment in Ohio barring recognition of his marriage violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments under the U.S. Constitution.

“On this record, there is insufficient evidence of a legitimate state interest to justify this singling out of same sex married couples given the severe and irreparable harm it imposes on David Michener,” Black writes.
Ives’ remains are at the funeral home, and his cremation was scheduled for Wednesday. For the cremation to proceed, a death certificate must be issued. However, under current law, Ohio won’t recognize the couples as married. Michener sought a death certificate that lists him as a “surviving spouse” and recognizes him as married.

The judge on Tuesday granted that request through another temporary restraining order that enjoins state officials, including Gov. John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine, from enforcing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage with respect to this couple. The order is set to expire on Sept. 17 unless the court decides to extend it.

Alphonse Gerhardstein, the private attorney representing Michener, said his client is unavailable to answer questions from the media.

The order blocking state officials from issuing an incorrect death certificate is a temporary measure; the lawsuit against Ohio’s marriage ban will continue to proceed in district court.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings


1:13-cv-0050 #23 by EqualityCaseFiles

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