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.


  1. Alex says

    Alright, Ohio, here we go! What’s a clear and heartbreaking example of blatant inequality.

  2. Strepsi says

    Excellent case, and I like the analogy of recognizing cousins who married in another state. Because this is not whether same-sex marriage should exist: their marriage DOES exist, and is legal. Now it is up to the State to recognize it. This is, of course, why the “States’ rights” advocates were never correct, because as a U.S. citizen one must be able to move from state to state without suddenly becoming a second-class citizen.

    CONGRATULATIONS MEN, and best of luck!

  3. Bob R says

    I truly, truly hope they succeed. I live in Ohio with my partner of 28 years. I am in poor health, own our home and get substantial SS and VA benefits I would like him to get should I (which is most likely) predecease him. We may go to Maryland to wed. I would like to see Ohio recognize our marriage even if it won’t permit us to marry here where we live.

    Congratulations John and Jim. Good luck to us all.

  4. james says

    Snark alert!!

    Of course, this story illustrates clearly why gay marriage should not be allowed. Gay people simply don’t take marriage seriously! They think it’s about caring for one another, supporting one another, going to great lengths to make sure your partner’s needs are met. As everyone knows, marriage is about none of those things — it’s about having babies. Just ask Maggie G. and Brian B.

    Snark over!!

    John and Jim, I’m pulling for you in every way I can think of!

  5. says

    UPDATED July 22, 2013

    ATTENTION: Engaged or Married Same-Gender Pennsylvania Couples, our Families and Friends!

    This is an CALL and SEARCH for a Pro Bono Attorney and Plaintiffs!


    This is needed immediately to halt the great harm caused by the inhumane, disrespectful and unconstitutional 1996 Pennsylvania law* that bans Equality in Civil Marriage of same-gender couples who are legally married elsewhere.

    In June 2013, the U. S. Supreme Court declared that the denial of full equality in civil marriage of same-gender American couples violates the United States Constitution by targeting and greatly harming same-gender couples denied this basic civil and human right.

    Yet, thousands of Pennsylvania couples continue to suffer daily the enormous harm caused by the Pennsylvania ban of equality in civil marriage.

    In July 2013, Pennsylvania was sued by the ACLU, seeking to overturn Pennsylvania’s (and other states’) ban of equality in civil marriage.

    Tragically for Pennsylvanian couples, however, the ACLU chose to NOT seek an immediate emergency federal court injunction against Pennsylvania’s extremely harmful law that bans equality in civil marriage. This ACLU lawsuit could take more than FIVE YEARS to reach the U. S. Supreme Court!

    Therefore, in order to seek emergency immediate protection for all Pennsylvania couples who are greatly damaged every single day for the next many years of waiting for the ACLU lawsuit to reach the U. S. Supreme Court, we now seek an emergency federal court injunction to immediately halt this grave injustice!


    About Us:

    We are Revs. Earl & Tim, elderly American citizens who live in Pennsylvania. We simply fell in love at first sight 37 years ago, in 1976.

    Forced by prejudice against people like us who are born non-heterosexual, we had to wait 27 years to marry! Finally, in 2003, were granted the freedom to marry, in Toronto, Canada.

    But In Pennsylvania, our marriage is still denied, disrespected and banned. We are targeted for great harm by this unacceptable and unconstitutional Pennsylvania law that must be halted immediately!

    See News Article:


    * – Section 1102 of Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.



    Email Us: TwoHusbands[at]gmail[dot]com


  6. Michael says

    Godspeed John and Jim. Jim’s devotion should shame anyone who claims that people of the same gender should be prevented from marriage. However, I doubt that H8ers experience shame.