In Cincinnati, Ohio, women speaks at a protest after Prop 8 is passed in California in 2008.
A federal judge of Cincinnati announced that he will require Ohio officials to now recognize all gay marriages which were performed in other states. This ruling will potentially affect approximately 20,000 of Ohio’s same-sex couples.
Currently, the ruling only applies to the four couples who sued the state until an appeals decision is reached.
The now widely known District Judge, Timothy Black made the decision following the final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged Ohio’s gay marriage ban. This decision is wildly controversial due to the decision’s conflict with the state’s Constitution because the initial ban was put into place by Ohio voters themselves.
Ohio voters chose to deny the right of legal recognition to same-sex marriages over the past years which has been validated in other states recently. In U.S. District Judge Timothy Black’s statements, he declared that Ohio’s laws are “facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances.”
The judge issued the ruling on April 14 which prohibited Ohio officials from imposing the ban for the couples involved with the case until the appeals process is complete. However, this does not indicate that Ohio itself must permit same-sex couples to marry within state lines.
District Judge Timothy Black allowed time for the state to begin preparations for an appeal by announcing his intention in advance of his upcoming ruling. The state’s Attorney General, Mike DeWine, said that the state will in fact be appealing Black’s decision.
Ohio’s law specifically defines marriage as a contract to be made between a man and a woman. However, reactions throughout the state are slightly mixed. Being that the state overwhelmingly voted against the recognition of gay marriage, the controversy of Black’s ruling is not surprising.
The state of Ohio is not the first to make further advancements in the same-sex marriage debate. With nine states now recognizing and legalizing same-sex marriages, the movement is gaining momentum across the country.
While the United States Supreme Court has yet to rule on the recognition of same-sex marriages on a national basis, the battle rages on throughout the individual States.