Despite a constitutional amendment to the contrary, Ohio will recognize a same-sex couple’s marriage for the first time.
The recognition will be bittersweet for David Michener, however, as the marriage will be noted on the death certificate of his husband, William Herbert Ives, who died unexpectedly on August 27. According to an obituary, Ives leaves three children.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday that requires the registrar of the Office of Vital Records in Cincinnati’s Health Department and state officials to recognize Ives’ and Michener’s marriage. The order echoed one he previously issued in the case as to another same-sex couple who married in Maryland.
On Tuesday, Judge Black held again that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed in their lawsuit claiming that Ohio’s constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriages violate the U.S. Constitution.
James Obergefell and John Artur brought the original complaint to enable Arthur, who is in hospice care, to be listed as married and Obergefell to be listed as his surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate when he dies. As both men remain alive, the court order has not led Ohio officials to take any specific action recognizing the Obergefell-Arthur marriage.
By amending the complaint on Tuesday to include Michener’s claim, however, Ives’ death certificate — listing him as married — likely will be issued in the coming day, as the complaint states that “[a] death certificate is needed now in order to proceed with a cremation of Mr. Ives on September 4, 2013.”
Although Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, also named in the lawsuit, continue to defend Ohio’s bans on recognizing same-sex couples’ marriages, neither opposed the request to amend the complaint to include Michener’s request. Cincinnati’s registrar, Dr. Camille Jones, meanwhile, has notified the court that she “will not defend Ohio’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages.”
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