A federal judge on Wednesday suggested
that Ohio's gay marriage ban may be unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Black is
considering whether the out-of-state marriages of gay couples should
be recognized on Ohio death certificates.
Black has already sided with two men,
allowing their late spouses to be recognized on Ohio death
certificates. Plaintiffs are now seeking to expand the ruling to
include all legally married gay couples in Ohio.
Although Black is only considering the
narrow question of recognition on death certificates, he noted that
“in the real world out there, the stakes are larger.”
Black pointed to the Supreme Court's
June ruling striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage
Act (DOMA), which prohibited the federal government from recognizing
the legal marriages of gay couples.
“Politicians say, 'I'll leave this to
the states,' but if the United States Supreme Court said the federal
government cannot fail to recognize valid same-sex marriages, why can
the states?” Black asked Bridget Coontz, the attorney defending the
Coontz said that to allow other states
to define who is married in Ohio “would allow one state to set the
marriage policy for all others.”
Black is expected to issue his decision
before the end of the year.
Black's previous rulings angered Ohio
state Rep. John Becker, a Republican from Union Township, who accused
Black of “malfeasance and abuse of power” in calling for the