As he promised, US District Court judge Timothy Black issued a ruling on April 14 in favor of four same-sex couples who had been married in other states, saying that Ohio had to recognize those marriages.
The state of Ohio asked for a stay while they appealed and yesterday he agreed to their request but the stay did not apply to the four couples who had won the case in his court. He said that the state must issue birth certificates for the four children of the couples, three yet to be born, that list both parents on the birth certificates.
The issuing of a stay depends upon whether one or other party is likely to suffer an immediate and irreversible injury. The judge clearly felt that while a stay would be better to avoid confusion if his verdict were overturned on appeal, the four children would suffer immediate harm if a stay were not granted. The judge also seemed to feel that the state’s chances of winning the appeal in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals were slim, so that the four children’s status would be secure.
Meanwhile the second case in which the right to same-sex marriage has reached a higher court has gone before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and oral arguments were heard today. This case is from Kentucky but is before is the same Appeals Court and the same three-judge panel that heard the case from Utah last Wednesday, giving the judges another chance to explore this issue. It will be interesting to see if they revisit the question of the appropriate level of scrutiny.