On December 23, 2013 the United States District Court for the Western Division of Ohio in the case of Obergefell v Wymyslo Case No 1:13-cv-501 Ohio declared that Article XV Sec 11 and Ohio Revised Code 3101.01(C) are unconstitutional in that these sections of Ohio law violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court found that same sex couples who are legally married in other jurisdictions who seek to have their out of state marriages recognized and accepted as legal in and by Ohio are “denied due process of law when the attendant protections and benefits of their existing marriages are denied by the state and are denied the equal protection of the laws when Ohio does recognize heterosexual marriages from other jurisdictions.
In this case, the United States District Court for the Western Division of Ohio in a declaratory judgment action held that Article XV, Section 11 and Ohio Revised Code 3101.01(C) are unconstitutional and that the filing of a death certificate on behalf of the deceased person in a same sex- marriage which is valid in another jurisdictions, if requested, shall be recognized by the State of Ohio. The Court in it’s decision further held that the State of Ohio shall recognize the deceased person for whom a death certificate is sought as ” married” or widowed” and the death certificate (and the State of Ohio by implication) shall also acknowledge the decedent’s married partner as a surviving spouse.
Although this case only involved the completion of a death certificate the implications of the decision on Ohio law and the issue of the recognition of same sex marriages in Ohio is substantial. In light of the possible scope of the Court’s decision the Ohio Attorney General has indicated that the State of Ohio will appeal the decision of the trial court.
Link to the decision [Scribd Link] here.
The Columbus Dispatch has covered this case extensively. You can find their continuing coverage here, here, and here.
Attorney Gary Gottfried is a family law specialist who has extensive experience in the area of same sex partnerships and marriage. If you have questions, check out our section on the subject (link) or Contact Us today.