In December, federal Judge Timothy Black of Cincinnati found no good constitutional reason for Ohio failing to recognize gay marriages on death certificates. His ruling now is pending before the court of appeals. On Monday, gay-rights advocates pressed ahead on another front, asking for similar equality in the handling of birth certificates across the state.
The case involves four gay couples, all married in states where same-sex marriage is legal. The three female couples are expecting the birth of a child in Cincinnati, one woman in each pair becoming pregnant through artificial insemination. They want the names of both parents to appear on the birth certificate, something Ohio law does not permit in such circumstances.
The male couple wants the same, having a adopted a child from Ohio. State law says only one man shall be listed as the father.
The question is simple enough: Should the state be permitted to deny gay couples, who clearly are the parents, the use of both their names on the birth certificate? The certificate is a primary document of identification. Better that it reflect accurately the family.
Many oppose gay marriage, on religious and moral grounds. The law must weigh the matter differently, asking, as Judge Black did, whether there is a good constitutional reason to treat gay marriages differently than unions between a man and woman. In that way, it is hard to cast aside the principle of equal treatment under the law.