Ohio ordered to recognize gay couple's marriage

BALTIMORE — A federal judge in Ohio has ordered state officials there to recognize the Maryland marriage of a terminally ill gay Cincinnati man on his state death certificate.

The man and his husband, who were wed in Maryland, where gay marriage is legal, expect he will die soon.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black to grant John Arthur and his husband, Jim Obergefell, a temporary restraining order against the 2004 Ohio law banning recognition of gay marriage came despite a warning from the state's attorney general that it could contribute to a broad rewriting of Ohio law in favor of such unions.

im Obergefell and John Arthur married on a medical jet at BWI on Thursday, July 11. Arthur's ALS makes it difficult to travel, but they had to make the trip because Ohio doesn't allow same-sex marriage. Photo courtesy of Jim Obergefell.

Arthur and Obergefell wed this month in a special medical jet on a tarmac at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Hanover, Md. Arthur suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and can't travel without medical support.

Family and friends helped fund the expensive flight.

In their lawsuit against Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Atty. Gen. Mike DeWine and Camille Jones, Cincinnati's vital statistics registrar, the couple acknowledged Arthur was likely to die soon, and said the state's refusal to recognize their marriage, including on Arthur's death certificate, would cause them severe harm.

In his decision Monday, Black wrote that his order restraining the state from enforcing its laws applied to Arthur and Obergefell only, through Aug. 5 or as extended by the court. It will not affect Ohio or its other citizens, the order said.

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