US: Judge rules deceased gay man’s death certificate can list him as married despite equal marriage ban

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In a second similar ruling by the same judge, a gay man has won an appeal to have his late husband’s death certificate display that he was married, despite a state-wide ban on equal marriage in Ohio.

US District Judge Timothy Black ordered on Tuesday, just hours after attorneys asked him to rule quickly, that 54-year-old William Herbert Ives be listed as married on his death certificate, before he is cremated on Wednesday.

William Herbert Ives married his husband David Brian Michener in Delaware on 22 July, and the couple adopted three children. They were together for 18 years, and Ives died unexpectedly of natural causes a week ago.

Back in July Judge Black ruled in favour of a couple who filed another lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Ohio 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.

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.