A federal judge has ordered Ohio authorities to recognize the marriages of gay couples performed in other states. Judge Timothy Black's ruling on Monday criticized the state's "ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
He says the state's marriage recognition bans are unconstitutional and unenforceable.
Rick Cauthen and his partner of nine years, were married in New York in 2012. He says when they had their taxes done this year, it was a reminder that Ohio considers their marriage invalid.
“When it comes to the state of Ohio, [we] had to do them separately, and they even had to develop a special form for same gender couples who are being respected by our federal government, but Ohio still won’t acknowledge,” says Cauthen.
Black's order doesn't force Ohio to allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.
The state plans to appeal the ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage, which voters did overwhelmingly in 2004.
But Paul Croushore, a lawyer, specializing in discrimination litigation in Ohio, expects Black’s decision to stand. He says there’s legal precedent.
“It’s like when Nevada reduced their waiting period for getting a divorce to six weeks in the 1930’s, people immediately began to flock to Nevada to get divorces...”
Croushore says those Nevada divorces had to be recognized in all states.
So far, 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.