Gay-marriage campaign heads to state courts

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The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania, where the state’s Democratic attorney general is refusing to defend the state’s marriage law. The same scenario is playing out in New Mexico, where Attorney General Gary King, a Democrat, revealed that he would not defend the state’s constitutional provision against same-sex marriage in response to a lawsuit filed by two Santa Fe men who want to marry.

“New Mexico’s guarantee of equal protection to its citizens demands that same-sex couples be permitted to enjoy the benefits of marriage in the same way and to the same extent as other New Mexico citizens,” Mr. King said.

The federal target is still DOMA. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, the law still permits states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

House Republicans said recently that they were suspending efforts to apply DOMA in other federal programs, and some 200 members of Congress are trying to repeal DOMA entirely through the Respect for Marriage Act. House Republicans also quietly have dropped the funding request to underwrite the defense of the law in the courtroom in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision.

DOMA, “though mortally wounded, is still on the books,” Mr. Wolfson said. Thanks to the June 26 ruling, however, he reported that, like other married gay couples, he can start the process to sponsor his noncitizen spouse for a green card.

Ohio’s special case

The Ohio case, which has attracted national attention, illustrated the complex legal terrain for same-sex marriage.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black in Cincinnati said John Arthur and James Obergefell could be declared married even though Ohio does not recognize same-sex marriage. After flying to Maryland this month to marry on the airport tarmac, the men asked the Ohio judge to recognize their marriage upon their return home.

The men’s lawsuit said Mr. Arthur is in poor health, and unless he is deemed legally married, his spouse will not be able to be buried with him in the Arthur family plot.

Judge Black ruled in their favor, saying Ohio recognizes other out-of-state marriages — such as those between first cousins — that aren’t permitted in the state. “How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single out same-sex marriages as ones it will not recognize,” Judge Black wrote. “The short answer is that Ohio cannot.”

Ohio backers of traditional marriage say the case — with a terminally ill plaintiff — was calculated to undermine the state’s law, with a sympathetic court aiding the process.

“Judge Black is an Obama appointee,” Ohio pro-life activist Pendra Lee Snyder, the owner of a Christian marketing and publishing company, told the website LifeSiteNews.com. “This is, in my opinion, a calculated effort at the chipping away of states’ rights and in particular all states that voted to protect marriage as a union of one and one woman.”

Fixing for a fight

Supporters of traditional marriage are regrouping and resisting adverse decisions.

In Congress, 40 members of the House, led by Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Kansas Republican, have introduced a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

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About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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