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May 2, 2014

Equality Ohio seeks to join marriage case

Cincinnati--Equality Ohio filed a motion on April 23 to intervene in an Ohio marriage case currently before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The motion, on behalf of both Equality Ohio and the Equality Ohio Education Fund as well as four same-sex couples in the state, has Roberta Kaplan representing the group.

Kaplan, of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, represented Edie Windsor in the Supreme Court case that struck the third section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last June. That case has contributed to most of the 66 marriage lawsuits that have been filed around the nation since then, including the Ohio ones.

The couples seeking to be added as interveners are Tim Broud and Richard Moore of Toledo; Sarah Ruth Marshall and Tara Kay Robertson of Dayton; Joel Diaz and Craig Scheidler of Columbus and Angie Wellman and Julie Lamere of Columbus.

Wellman, who is currently with the Multicultural Center at Ohio State University, was the executive director of the Kaleidoscope Youth Center in Columbus for many years.

The case in which Equality Ohio seeks to intervene centers around a couple seeking recognition of their legal, out-of-state marriage on an Ohio death certificate.

John Arthur was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease when he and James Obergefell were married last year in Maryland. However, to be buried in a family plot left to Obergefell by his father, Arthur had to be listed as married and Obergefell as his surviving spouse on his death certificate.

Later, William Herbert Ives passed away, and his husband David Michener sued for his death certificate to list him as married and Michener as the surviving spouse.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Black in Cincinnati ruled in December that Ohio must recognize both couples’ marriages. Last month, in a second case concerning birth certificates, Black made a similar ruling that the state must recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states. That case is also headed to the Sixth Circuit.

“The Sixth Circuit’s decisions affect lives and families in every corner of this state. We are committed to leaving no legal stone unturned in the pursuit of full equality for all Ohioans,” said Equality Ohio executive director Elyzabeth Holford. “This filing does not affect the standing or the rights of the parties to the case. Our motion adds another line of reasoning for the court’s consideration.”

By intervening, the parties open the door for Kaplan to introduce other arguments to support those of Obergefell and Michener.








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