On July 11, Cincinnati couple Jim Obergefell and John Arthur flew out of their home state of Ohio (where same-sex marriage is banned by constitutional amendment), touched down at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and were wed inside of their chartered plane. Their story has been made especially compelling by Arthur’s diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a terminal disease.
Not two weeks have passed, and the two are making headlines again, as they have brought a lawsuit against Ohio to force the state to recognize their Maryland marriage. Citing Ohio’s record of recognizing out-of-state marriages between first cousins and minors (both of which are illegal there), U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black ruled in favor of Obergefell and Arthur. The immediate practical implication is that Arthur’s death certificate will list him as married, and Obergefell will be named as his surviving spouse.
But Black’s decision is not necessarily the final word. According to the Sun, the state will likely appeal. Still, Obergefell felt his marriage was validated by the ruling. “It means that we exist,” he said.
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