Though a federal judge ruled Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages from other states, the state plans to fight back by appealing the decision, something one recently married same-sex Columbus couple said was no surprise to them.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black ruled Monday that not recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states is unconstitutional, however, Ohio doesn’t have to allow same-sex marriages to take place in state.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican, plans to appeal the ruling on the basis that the state has a sovereign right to ban same-sex marriage. Voters had approved that ban with about 62 percent of votes cast in 2004.
Rob Nichols, spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, told the Associated Press Kasich supports the plan to appeal.
“The governor believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, he supports Ohio’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and we’re glad the attorney general is appealing the ruling,” Nichols said in a statement.
Ed FitzGerald, the leading Democratic nominee for Ohio governor this year, however, said he agreed with Black’s ruling.
“Today’s statement by Federal Judge Timothy Black that his ruling will require that Ohio must legally recognize the marriages of gay couples who wed in other states is an important first step to full marriage equality,” he said in a released statement. “As governor, I will support marriage equality and work to move Ohio forward for all its residents. Who you love and commit yourself to should not be prohibited by governments.”
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman changed his stance on gay marriage, becoming the first GOP senator to openly support it last year, and a poll for The Columbus Dispatch last year showed that 54 percent of Ohioans would support an amendment that would repeal the state’s ban on gay marriage.
While advocates with FreedomOhio have talked about getting an amendment on the November ballot, the group, which aims to bring marriage equality to the Buckeye State, plans to hold its petition “in a state of readiness for filing” while gathering signatures on a new petition with revised language, according to its website.
Jennifer Lape, an OSU Ph.D. student in health and physical activity behavior, legally married her partner Leah Kaiser this past weekend in Chicago.
The decision from Black and Ohio’s plan to appeal is no surprise, Lape said.
“We knew that a stay would likely be placed on the decision and that further, there would be an appeal,” Lape said. “Because of this, I took the ruling by Judge Black to be more of a symbolic gesture indicative of what is to come in the future.”
Lape said getting legally married wasn’t just for the two of them.
“Leah and I took this as an opportunity to get out there for all of the couples for whom legal marriage in Ohio is absolutely necessary to protect themselves and their families,” Lape said.
Kaiser said the decision is an important one for OSU students to see.
“For the OSU population, it’s great for them to be able to see what their future may offer them,” Kaiser said. “Everyone can have the same things in life.”