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Ohio Ordered To Recognize Out-Of-State Gay Marriages

Nicole Yorksmith (left) holds her son while standing with her partner, Pam Yorksmith. They were among four legally married couples who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking to compel Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages on birth certificates.
Al Behrman

The state of Ohio was told by a federal judge Monday that it must recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, Ohio Public Radio and TV's Jo Ingles reports.

The decision follows similar rulings by federal judges in other states and was not a surprise. Judge Timothy Black had said earlier this month that he would soon issue such a ruling.

For now at least, Black's decision applies only to the four couples who brought the case. They want their names on their children's state-issued birth certificates.

"The federal court has stayed the order for everyone except the 4 couples named in this suit," Ingles wrote as she tweeted the decision. The state will argue against expanding the ruling in its appeal of Black's decision.

In his ruling, Black said that "Ohio's marriage recognition is facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances," The Columbus Dispatch reports.

In 2004, Ohio voters approved a ban on same-sex marriages in the state. As WVXU notes, the lawsuit at the center of Judge Black's ruling "did not seek to allow same-sex partners to get married in Ohio, just the recognition of marriages from other states."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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