Gay Couple Challenges Ohio's Ban on Same-Sex Marriage In Federal Suit
Last week, we reported on a gay Ohio couple, John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, who flew to Maryland to tie the knot. Unlike other couples flocking to get wed following the Supreme Court's historic overturning of section 3 of DOMA, John and Jim faced a more difficult journey as Arthur suffers from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Consequently, conventional travel was out of the question. But thanks to donations from family members and others, the couple was able to charter a plane that cost $12,700 to fly to Maryland where they wed on the Tarmac. The couple has now filed a federal suit against the state of Ohio challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriage, ABC 5 reports:
"The suit, filed by the couple, states the way the law treats marriages between opposite-sex couples is unfairly different from the way it treats marriages between same-sex couples.
'It's blatant discrimination,' said the couple's attorney Al Gerhardstein. 'It's a denial of equal protection.' The suit points to an example of a marriage between first cousins. In Ohio, it is illegal. But if first cousins go to another state and marry where it is legal, Ohio will recognize their out of state marriage as valid. 'Equal protection demands that opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples should be treated the same,' Gerhardstein said in a release. 'John and James were validly married in Maryland. If they were an opposite sex couple, Ohio would recognize their marriage. Being a same-sex couple is no longer a good enough reason to deny them equal rights.'"
Jim stressed the role that John's disease played in deciding to file the suit:
"We want nothing more than for our marriage to count in the place we call home," Obergefell said in a release. "When (John Arthur) dies, his death certificate should reflect our marriage just like the records of all the other married couples in Ohio."
The case, once heard, will come before United States District Court Judge Timothy Black in Cincinnati, the couple's hometown.