- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

The latest on Ohio’s reaction to the Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states (all times local):


6:50 p.m.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley officiated at the wedding of five same-sex couples on the city’s Fountain Square in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.

About 200 onlookers clustered around the couples gathered on the square Friday afternoon with many snapping cell phone photos and applauding and cheering as each couple separately exchanged vows. Even louder cheers rang out at the end of the ceremony as Cranley pronounced them all married and multi-colored confetti filled the air.

The couples included two women who had been together for 20 years and another couple accompanied by children.

A rabbi also accompanied one of the couples.


4 p.m.

Two northern Kentucky couples went to Cincinnati to marry after hearing of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage.

Bennett Stewart struggled to control tears as he wed Jacob Tuma in Hamilton County Municipal Court on Friday afternoon. The Covington, Kentucky, couple held hands and exchanged rings during the short ceremony before Judge Bernie Bouchard.

Lena Williams, of Newport, Kentucky, also wiped away tears as the judge married her to Crystal Zimmer. Williams said she couldn’t stop crying when a friend texted her Friday about the ruling.

More couples were to be married Friday afternoon by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley in a mass wedding on Fountain Square.


12:25 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is saying the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage must be respected.

Kasich, a Republican, says he has always believed in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. But he said Friday that the high court has spoken.

Kasich, in his second term as governor, has been visiting early nomination states ahead of an expected announcement he’s running for president.


12:05 p.m.

Same-sex marriages are underway in Ohio. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley performed a simple ceremony less than two hours after the court’s decision was announced.

Whaley told Tim Walsh and Kery Gray: “In hard times, love offers hope.” The casually dressed pair repeated vows and moved their rings from their right hands to their left ring fingers.

Whaley told them: “I declare that you are now husband and husband according to the laws of the state of Ohio.”

They sealed the deal with a kiss and a hug, then ended the five-minute ceremony by sharing a celebratory cupcake provided by the mayor.

Courts around the state say they’re ready to begin performing same-sex marriages. But so far those in Cleveland and Toledo say they haven’t seen a wave of couples yet.


11:55 a.m.

A Cincinnati couple immediately headed to the marriage license bureau in Hamilton County after hearing about Friday’s ruling.

Ethan Fletcher and Andrew Hickam have been engaged nearly two years, but wanted to wait in hopes same-sex marriage would become legal in their home state of Ohio.

Fletcher says after getting their license, they will begin planning an August wedding with friends and family.

The 31-year-old University of Cincinnati academic adviser says: “I’m just overwhelmed with joy.”


11:40 a.m.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office stands by its argument that the issue of gay marriage should be ultimately decided by voters.

DeWine’s said in a statement after the ruling that his office has an obligation to defend Ohio laws, the state’s voter-passed 2004 ban on gay marriage.

“Ohio’s involvement in this case has been to defend the voter-passed amendment,” DeWine said in a statement after the ruling. “While Ohio argued that the Supreme Court should let this issue ultimately be decided by the voters, the Court has now made its decision.”


11:30 a.m.

A longtime Ohio conservative activist against gay marriage says he isn’t surprised, but still feels “devastated” by Friday’s ruling.

Phil Burress heads the Citizens for Community Values based in suburban Cincinnati. He says it’s “really disappointing that the Supreme Court has more power than even Congress.”

He predicts that there will be a flood of lawsuits against Christian-owned businesses and churches that oppose same-sex marriage.

“This has always been about our religious freedoms and the persecution of those who believe same sex unions are wrong,” he said. “Now the persecutions will begin.”


11:15 a.m.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says he welcomes the high court’s decision “as a father.”

Portman in 2013 announced he was changing his position to support same-sex marriage in the aftermath of his son Will’s disclosure to him and his wife that he is gay.

Portman says he would have preferred that the issue be resolved by the democratic process because that builds a lasting consensus. But he says he hopes the ruling means “we can move past the division and polarization the issue has caused.”

Some conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage have said they won’t support Portman in his 2016 re-election bid.


11:05 a.m.

The Roman Catholic archbishop of Cincinnati says the high court disregarded the will of voters in Ohio and other states as well as the understanding of marriage shared by virtually all cultures until recently.

“Every nation has laws limiting who and under what circumstances people can be married,” Archbishop Dennis Schnurr says in a statement. “This is because lawmakers have always understood that marriage does not exist just for the mutual satisfaction of the two people involved but for the betterment of society.”

Schnurr, who oversees a diocese of 500,000 Catholics in 19 counties, calls “traditional marriage is the cradle of the family, the basic building block of society”.


11:00 a.m.

A Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County Probate Court has started issuing marriage license to gay couples following the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The ruling doesn’t take effect immediately because the court gives the losing side roughly three weeks to ask for reconsideration, but Cuyahoga County Probate Court Presiding Judge Anthony J. Russo says it’s clear what the court’s intention was.

Forty-four-year-old Rob Rivera and 34-year-old Dan Seifried of Cleveland Heights were the first pair to apply for a marriage license in the county court following the ruling.

The couple plans to be married Friday evening by Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman in front of family and friends.


10:30 a.m.

A spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office will soon issue a statement about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against bans on same-sex marriage in Ohio and 13 other states. The office has defended the voter-passed ban in cases that have gone from a U.S. district court in Cincinnati to the Cincinnati-based appeals court to the nation’s highest court.


10:10 a.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

Ohio’s ban was passed by voters in 2004. The Friday ruling overturned a 2-1 opinion issued last November by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Cincinnati that heard arguments last August on cases from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

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