An Ohio Victory Timeline

After announcing his intention to strike Ohio’s ban recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states in early April, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black issued his ruling on April 14.

In his ruling, Black wrote that, “ …Ohio’s marriage recognition bans are facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances.”

The order, like in Kentucky, did not require “require Ohio to authorize the performance of same-sex marriage in Ohio … ruling merely requires Ohio to recognize valid same-sex marriages lawfully performed in states which do authorize such marriages.”

Black also delayed deciding if he would issue a stay of his ruling, allowing attorneys from both sides to present their arguments.

However, Black did write that he was inclined to stay his ruling except for the four plaintiff couples. Much like what recently happened in Tennessee, Black wrote that the Plaintiffs “have demonstrated that a stay will harm them individually due to the imminent births of their children and other time-sensitive concerns.”

Black issued his stay on Wednesday, April 15, agreeing with Federal Judge John Heyburn’s Kentucky assessment that “premature implementation or confusing changes” did not serve anyone well.

As inclined, Black said the stay did not apply to the four couples, including Pam and Nicole Yorksmith who filed the February lawsuit that led to the court case, and ordered Ohio to immediately list both spouses in each relationship as parents on their children’s birth certificates. Pam and Nicole are currently expecting their second child.

In his stay, Black wrote:

“While this Court believes that Defendant Himes is unlikely to prevail on the merits of his appeal, and will not be irreparably harmed by compliance with the requirements of the United States Constitution, the Court acknowledges that recognition of same-sex marriages is a hotly contested issue in the contemporary legal landscape, and, if Defendant Himes’s appeal is ultimately successful, the absence of a stay as to this Court’s ruling of facial unconstitutionality is likely to lead to confusion, potential inequity, and high costs. These considerations lead the Court to conclude that the public interest would best be served by the granting of a stay. Premature celebration and confusion do not serve anyone’s best interests. The federal appeals courts need to rule, as does the United States Supreme Court.


U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the first GOP senator to support marriage equality, quickly spoke out against the court’s decision, stating that marriage equality would be more effective without an edict from the federal courts.

While Ohio voters voted to ban same-sex marriage in 2004, in an apparent coincidence, a proposed ballot initiative to repeal Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban was certified by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The initiative now goes to the state ballot board for review.





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