CINCINNATI, Ohio – A federal judge has ordered Ohio authorities to recognize the marriages of gay couples performed in other states.
Judge Timothy Black’s ruling on Monday criticized the state’s “ongoing arbitrary discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”
He says the state’s marriage recognition bans are unconstitutional and unenforceable.
According to Black’s ruling, the section of the Ohio Constitution that withholds recognition of marriages deemed legal in other states denies gay couples “significant liberty interests and fundamental rights without due process of law and in violation of their right to equal protection.”
Black’s order doesn’t force Ohio to allow gay marriages to be performed in the state.
The ruling comes on the same day when Ohio Attorney-General Mike DeWine’s office has certified the initial group of petition signatures for a constitutional amendment repealing the ban.
The state plans to appeal Black’s ruling, arguing that Ohio has a sovereign right to ban gay marriage, which voters did overwhelmingly in 2004.
Black delayed deciding whether to stay his ruling pending appeal until attorneys on both sides present their arguments on the issue by the end of Tuesday.