A federal judge ordered the state of Ohio on Tuesday to recognize the marriage of two men who went to another state to marry each other. According to the Associated Press, one of the men has died since the marriage and Judge Timothy Black’s order specified that on his death certificate, his partner of 18 years should be listed as “husband.”
Ohio does not legally permit same sex marriages, but this is the second federal ruling this summer in which the state has been ordered to recognize a marriage between two men who were wed out of state. In this case, the attorneys for the deceased man and his partner urged the state to hurry so that the matter could be settled before the body of William Herbert Ives, 54, could be cremated. Ives died unexpectedly in late August leaving behind his partner David Michener and their three adopted children.
“On this record, there is insufficient evidence of a legitimate state interest to justify this singling out of same-sex married couples given the severe and irreparable harm it imposes on David Michener,” Black wrote, saying that the order was made “to bring closure to the family in a manner that respects their marriage.”
Ives and Michener were married in Delaware in 2012 where same sex marriage is legal.
In July, Judge Black ordered the state to recognize the marriage of John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, two men who were wed on a Maryland airport tarmac so as to be formally married when Arthur — who is gravely ill with Lou Gehrig’s disease — passes away. Both rulings by Black contradict Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.
As with the July ruling, reported the AP, a spokesperson for Republican Gov. John Kasich declined to address the issue “except to say that the governor believes marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1995 federal statute that defined marriage as being exclusively a heterosexual institution. The Court also declined to overturn a California Supreme Court ruling against Proposition 8, the Republican-led voter referendum against same sex marriages.