A federal judge has ordered the state of Ohio to grant full recognition to a same-sex marriage performed in Maryland a couple weeks ago in a case involving a dying man. The judge noted that Ohio recognizes marriages performed elsewhere that would not be legal if performed in that state in a variety of other circumstances:
Throughout Ohio’s history, Ohio law has been clear: a marriage solemnized outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where solemnized. Thus, for example, under Ohio law, out-of-state marriages between first cousins are recognized by Ohio, even though Ohio law does not authorize marriages between first cousins. Likewise, under Ohio law, out of state marriages of minors are recognized by Ohio, even though Ohio law does not authorize marriages of minors.
How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single out same sex marriages as ones it will not recognize? The short answer is that Ohio cannot, at least not under the circumstances here.
By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex marriages (e.g., marriages of first cousins and marriages of minors), Ohio law, as applied to these Plaintiffs, likely violates the United States Constitution which guarantees that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.”
This is just a temporary restraining order, but it obviously indicates how the judge is likely to rule on the case itself.
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