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Judge considers staying Ohio gay marriage ruling

By Amanda Lee Myers
Associated Press

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CINCINNATI: Attorneys for Ohio asked a federal judge Tuesday to stay his decision ordering the state to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states, a request the judge said he was inclined to grant.

The state attorneys said in a court filing they would not object to the request by four couples who sued in February to have both spouses listed on their children’s birth certificates, but urged Judge Timothy Black to stay Monday’s ruling for everyone else.

“This court’s order is a momentous change in Ohio’s marriage law, that will require widespread — but in light of appeal, possibly temporary — changes in Ohio law,” they wrote. “The public interest and other parties are not served by such confusion.”

Black said he is inclined to issue a stay of his decision pending appeal, meaning most gay couples living in the state would see no immediate tangible expansion of their rights. His order does not force Ohio to allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.

He said he would rule expeditiously on the stay.

The civil rights attorneys who represent the couples argued in a filing late Monday that Black should allow his ruling to take effect immediately, extending broad rights to all same-sex married couples in Ohio. They argue that the state’s appeal isn’t likely to succeed, there is no public interest in delaying the ruling, and that no irreparable harm will come if the ruling is implemented, except to the same-sex couples trying to be treated with fairness.

Three of the four couples live in the Cincinnati area. They’re all women, and one spouse in each relationship is pregnant and due to give birth this summer. The fourth couple lives in New York City but adopted their child from Ohio.

If Black declines to stay the ruling, that would allow all married gay couples living in Ohio to obtain the same benefits as any other married couple in the state, including property rights and the right to make some medical decisions for their partner.


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