A group of same-sex couples from Ohio on Wednesday has filed a federal lawsuit directly focusing on the states ban on same-sex marriage as being unconstitutional.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, joins 14 others where state constitutional bans are being targeted as violations of the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment.
Michelle Gibson a lead plaintiff in the new case has been with her partner Deb Meem since 1995, when they met as professors at the University of Cincinnati, and want to get married. Gibson has multiple sclerosis and can no longer walk, making it difficult to travel to get married in a state where it’s legal.
“As I get more and more disabled, I start to think about what I want to leave in the world, what kind of legacy I want to leave,” Gibson said. “This allows me to put something out into the world, to sort of say, ‘We’re in love. We deserve to have that love recognized, and our families recognized in the world in the same way that any other family would be recognized.’”
A total of six southwest Ohio couples are listed as plaintiffs in the case filed by Jennifer Branch of the Downtown-based law firm Gerhardstein & Branch. Her partner, Al Gerhardstein, this year won a narrower case to force Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states. That ruling is being appealed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who told The Enquirer he will also fight this newest suit.”
The slawuit names as defendants Hamilton County Probate Judge James Cissell, whose court issues marriage licenses, and Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes, whose department collects statistics on marriages. The health department is part of the administration of Republican Gov. John Kasich.
“The governor believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, and he supports Ohio’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said in an email.
DeWine, who represents state agencies when they are sued, said he is required to defend the gay marriage ban. Which of course as we all know is a lie.