I’ve written about John Arthur and Jim Obergefell twice in the past week—this post makes three—and it’s always good news; first, they were getting married [John Arthur and Jim Obergefell: AWish Fulfilled] and then they filed suit to have their marriage recognized in Ohio [John Arthurand Jim Obergefell Are Demanding That Ohio Recognize Their Marriage] and now this.
Yesterday a federal judge in Ohio ordered state officials to recognize John and Jim’s marriage on the death certificate of John Arthur, who suffers from ALS, and whom the judge says “is certain to die soon.”
“The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse.’ By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sex marriages”—Judge Timothy Black
Black concluded that Ohio’s 2004 constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages and Ohio’s statute addressing the same issue “likely violate the United States Constitution.”
And, in addressing the constitutional question, Black explained, “Although the law has long recognized that marriage and domestic relations are matters generally left to the states, the restrictions imposed on marriage by states, however, must nonetheless comply with the [U.S.] Constitution … The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in and in : ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law.”
John Arthur and Jim Obergefell filed a lawsuit against Ohio Governor John Kasich to have their marriage legally recognized in their home state. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine defended the state’s laws in filings with the court, but Cincinnati city lawyers representing Dr. Camille Jones, the vital statistics registrar for the city, declined to defend the law, telling the court, “The City will not defend Ohio’s discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages, but the City’s vital statistics registrar is bound to follow Ohio law until that law is changed or overturned.”
Maybe, just maybe, John Arthur can quietly pass away as the legally recognized husband of Jim Obergefell.
Is that so wrong?