US: Judge rules in favour of Ohio married couple in death certificate case

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A US District Judge has ruled in favour of a gay married couple in the state of Ohio, who filed a lawsuit in order to have their out-of-state marriage recognised as one of them is terminally ill.

US District Judge Timothy Black ruled in favour of the couple who filed the lawsuit last week challenging the constitutionality of the state-wide ban on equal marriage.

James Obergefell and John Arthur filed the lawsuit as Mr Arthur is terminally ill, and with a view to having his death certificate to show that the couple are married.

The couple married in Maryland, a US state which allows same-sex marriages. Mr Arthur has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the couple file the lawsuit in order to be buried next to each other in Mr Arthur’s family plot which only allows descendants and spouses.

The decision by Black is specific to the couple’s case, and does not reflect a wider ruling, but opponents to the state’s ban on equal marriage are encouraged by the decision.

Equal marriage advocacy group FreedomOhio hopes to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot for Ohio later this year or next, which would remove the 2004 amendment which banned equal marriage.

In 2004, the amendment banning equal marriage passed with 62% of voters supporting.