Federal judge orders Ohio to respect marriage of widower

Today, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black ordered the State of Ohio to respect the marriage of a couple who wed this summer in Delaware. The ruling marks the second married same-sex couple to see their out-of-state marriage respected in Ohio in rulings ordered by Judge Black. 

Today's case concerns David Michener from Cincinnati, who asked Ohio to respect his marriage to his partner of 18 years, William Herbert Ives. Ives and Michener raised three children together and legally married in July.

On August 27, Ives unexpectedly passed away of natural causes. In order for the cremation of his remains to proceed, the state must issue a death certificate. When Michener sought a death certificate listing him as the married "surviving spouse" of his partner of 18 years, he was denied because Ohio does not respect the couple's marriage. 

The judge issued a temporary restraining order today, saying, “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." 

We know that Judge Black's ruling is correct: There is no legitimate reason for the state of Ohio - or any other state - to refuse to respect a lawful marriage. Loving, committed same-sex couples who marry deserve and need the same respect and legal safety-net as other married couples, and to deny them those protections is unconstitutional. 

In July 2013, Judge Black ruled in favor of John Obergefell and John Arthur, a Cincinatti couple who have been together for 20 years. James and John made the journey from Ohio to Maryland so they could legally marry as John nears the end of his battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The couple then sued for respect for their marriage. Watch full video from their moving ceremony HERE.