Main | Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ohio AG Mike DeWine To Appeal Marriage Ruling For Dying Gay Man

On Monday a federal judge ordered the state of Ohio to recognize the Maryland marriage of a Cincinnati gay couple, one of whom is dying of ALS. The Ohio Attorney General intends to stop that.
"The case in Cincinnati is a real tragedy. We have two individuals, two men, and one of them is dying so it is very, very sad," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "But Ohio voters made it very, very clear what they wanted to do in regard to same sex marriage. My job as attorney general is to support the law and defend the law if it's attacked in court." DeWine says he'll lead the fight against Federal Judge Timothy Black who ordered Ohio to recognize the marriage of a terminally ill gay man on his state death certificate. After a 20 year relationship, Jim Obergefell and John Arthur were married in Maryland onboard a special medical jet earlier this month. Arthur suffers from Lou Gerhig's Disease and cannot travel without medical support.
UPDATE: Ian Millhiser weighs in at Think Progress:
There is a common refrain among marriage equality’s opponents that discrimination is necessary to remove some kind of “threat” equality poses to straight couples’ marriages. This case is a put up or shut up moment for these voices. Who, exactly, will divorce because Ohio will acknowledge one gay couple’s marriage? What strife will result when Obergefell someday is laid to rest next to Arthur? Where is the wife that will leave her husband because Arthur died alongside his? Who does DeWine think he is serving by filing this appeal?

Someday very soon, Obergefell will go home, lie in an empty bed, and confront for the first time the prospect of a life without his husband. In that moment of loss, he believes he will find some comfort if the State of Ohio acknowledges that he feels the same pain that he would have felt if he were married to a woman. That’s what DeWine wants to take away. And it will gain the people of Ohio nothing.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner says that all of the above-linked sources have the story wrong.
The temporary restraining order issued Monday requiring that Ohio officials recognize a gay couple’s marriage will stand, despite reports that an appeal is in the works. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s communications director, Lisa Hackley, confirmed to BuzzFeed that, despite a report claiming that Attorney General Mike DeWine would be appealing the Monday order from Judge Timothy Black, no such appeal is planned.

DeWine will continue to defend Ohio’s constitutional amendment and law banning same-sex couples from marrying and banning the state from recognizing such marriages, she said, but he will do so only as the case proceeds. DeWine’s office is not planning to appeal the temporary restraining order issued in James Obergefell and John Arthur’s case because, Hackley noted, such temporary orders are not generally appealable.

She also affirmed that the attorney general’s position is as he stated in a Tuesday news report from WKRC Cincinnati, when he said, “This is not the end of the game here. It’s one decision and the Judge issued his decision, which we certainly respect.”
Read Geidner's full story. If you remain confused, join the club.

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