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Ohio marriage equality case to be fully briefed by the end of May

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Ohio state sealThe Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request by the plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Wymyslo to expedite the appeal; the request was opposed by state officials defending the ban. The court noted only that “[t]he usual briefing schedule shall issue” and that “[i]f the plaintiffs choose to file their appellee brief before the expiration of the period for filing, any reply brief from the plaintiffs will be due 17 days later.”

The court has issued a briefing schedule in the case, and it seems that briefing will be completed fairly quickly even without the court granting the request for an expedited hearing. Briefing will be completed by May 30. The full schedule is posted here:

Appellant’s Principal Brief Appendix (if required by 6th Cir. R. 30(a) and (c)) Filed electronically by April 10, 2014

Appellee’s Principal Brief Appendix (if required by 6th Cir. R. 30(a) and (c)) Filed electronically by May 13, 2014

Appellant’s Reply Brief (Optional Brief) Filed electronically 17 days after the appellee’s brief is filed. See Fed. R. App. P. 26(c)

The case challenges Ohio’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state, even for purposes of death certificates.

The briefing schedule puts the case a month or so behind the arguments in two Tenth Circuit appeals from same-sex marriage cases in Utah and Oklahoma, and a month behind the Fourth Circuit arguments in the Virginia marriage cases.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings

For more information on Obergefell v. Wymyslo from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.


  • 1. Matt227  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:06 am

    I wouldn't really characterize this as a marriage cause. That's a bit misleading. A victory in this case will not result in the freedom to marry or even to have an outside one recognized. It is a death certificate dispute.

  • 2. Dann  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:20 am

    IMO having the state of Ohio recognizing out of state SSM is a important huge win. We'll gladly take it.

  • 3. Keith  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:32 am

    If Ohio has to recognize same sex marriage on a death certificate then it would seem logical that same sex marriage should also be recognized for the living.

  • 4. Dann  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Doesn't the ruling in Ohio include recognition of out of state SSM licenses in addition to the death certificate issue?

  • 5. Ragavendran  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:51 am

    It would give SCOTUS more variety in the menu of appeals that reach them. It is as narrow as one can get, and if a slow, incremental approach to legalizing SSM is what SCOTUS wants, they will have the option to do just that with this case.

  • 6. grod  |  March 14, 2014 at 10:29 am

    Matt: Here is Judge T Black's Conclusions p 48
    1. The Court finds and declares that Article 15, Section 11, of the Ohio Constitution, and Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.01(C), violate rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in that same-sex couples married in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is lawful, who seek to have their out-of-state marriage recognized and accepted as legal in Ohio, are denied their fundamental right to marriage recognition without due process of law; and are denied their fundamental right to equal protection of the laws when Ohio does recognize comparable heterosexual marriages from other jurisdictions, even if obtained to circumvent Ohio law.

  • 7. sfbob  |  March 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Judge Black's ruling was salutary in any number of respects. There has been debate, here and elsewhere, about how much importance, if any, Section 2 of DOMA continues to have. The short answer is: not much. What Section 2 did was in effect to give states blanket cover for invoking the "public policy exception" to the Full Faith and Credit Clause when it came to the recognition of same-sex marriages contracted in other states. Without actually ruling on the constitutionality of Section 2 of DOMA, Windsor effectively rendered Section 2 unenforceable. The public policy exception is subject to the same constitutional restrictions as anything else. Per the final sentence you've quoted above, the public policy exception cannot be invoked when it comes to recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages which, had they involved heterosexuals, the state would have recognized.

  • 8. grod  |  March 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Matt: read the Tennessee case on the right to remain married and recognized. What is obvious is that Judges read each other's findings and quote them. The finding of Ohio's Judge T. Black is incorporated in Judge A. Trauger's decision. Indeed the Cook County IL. decision is referenced. I share my excitement with you: "all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs’ marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history." OMG!

  • 9. grod  |  March 14, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Judge T Kean in the Barton part of the OK Bishop and Barton case deals extensively with Section 2. Married in three states/country in the hope of gaining recognition, Kean told them – you are barking up the wrong tree. Use the Bishop arguments:- "Section 2 does not mandate that states take any particular action, does not remove any discretion from states, does not confer benefits upon non-recognizing states, and does not punish recognizing states. The injury of non-recognition stems exclusively from state law." – p 11 +

  • 10. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  March 15, 2014 at 7:36 am

    […] USA, Ohio: The Sixth Circuit denied a request to expedite the Ohio marriage equality case, but said it should be fully briefed by the end of May/ full story […]

  • 11. Policy and Legal Update &&hellip  |  March 17, 2014 at 7:10 am

    […] OHIO • On 26 February 2014, in Jim Obergefell & John Arthur v. OH Public Health Director Theodore Wymyslo, a federal marriage recognition lawsuit, the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied the plaintiffs’ motion for an expedited briefing schedule, and instead set a deadline of 30 May for all 3 briefs from both parties.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source […]

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    […] courts have granted requests to expedite same-sex marriage cases. And though the Sixth Circuit denied a request to expedite a same-sex marriage case from Ohio, “the question in Obergefell [the Ohio case] […]

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