US District Court judge Timothy Black of Cincinnati, Ohio said yesterday that he intends to issue a ruling by April 14 that will strike down Ohio’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages that are legally performed in other states. The reason that he announced his intentions in advance is to allow the state to prepare to file an appeal, which Ohio’s Attorney General has promised he will do.
This ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by four same-sex Ohio couples who had been married in other states. This case did not, however, address the broader question of the constitutionality of Ohio’s constitutional amendment banning the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, though it seems just a matter of time before someone brings such a case and that law is overturned too.
I have a colleague at the university who is in a same-sex marriage that was performed in Massachusetts. She says the current situation where her marriage is recognized by the federal government but is not by the state government makes it awkward because there are so many situations where her ambiguous marriage status makes dealing with bureaucracies problematic.
Even in social settings things can get sticky when people who are not aware that she is a lesbian casually ask her if she is married and she does not know what to say. Is she or isn’t she? Although she is an out lesbian, she does not feel that she should have to provide strangers with her life story in order to answer what should be a simple question.
This ruling, if upheld, will settle that issue.