CINCINNATI — A lawsuit that has been underway for the past several several months in Ohio was expanded this week in an effort to force all funeral directors and coroners in the state to recognize same-sex ‘marriages’ that were performed in other states.
Homosexual “marriage” is illegal in Ohio, but some from the state have traveled elsewhere to work around the prohibition. However, because Ohio will not recognize those relationships as being valid, four homosexual men have found that when they die, they will not be acknowledged as couples by the state.
In seeking to be recognized on their partner’s death certificates, the men filed suit, asking that a federal court allow their relationships to be recognized.
The suit began with James Obergefell and John Arthur, the latter of which struggles with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The two want to be buried next to each other, but the cemetery they desire only allows spouses and relatives to have adjacent plots.
“Married couples, often through research based on death records, have recognition for their special status forever,” Obergefell stated. “I want my descendants generations from now who research their history to learn that I loved and married John and that he loved and married me. They will know that they had gay ancestor who was proud and strong and in love.”
Judge Timothy Black then granted the request, and two months later, another two men joined the suit: William Ives and David Michener. Ives had passed away, and Michener wanted to be listed as Ives’ spouse on his death certificate before he was cremated. Black likewise granted the request.
This Wednesday, funeral director Robert Grunn joined the lawsuit, which was amended in an effort to require the state health director to order funeral homes and coroners throughout Ohio to recognize homosexuals that were “married” in ceremonies in other states as a couple.
“He has a duty under Ohio law to report accurate personal information when it comes to death certificates.” attorney Al Gerhardstein
told local television station WKRC. “If he gives inaccurate information he could be exposed to criminal prosecution so he’s asking the court, ‘Tell me court, am I allowed to say these people are married if they’re married in another state and can I put married on the death certificate?'”
However, Clermont County Representative John Becker is displeased with Judge Black’s actions, and is calling for his impeachment. He recently wrote a letter to U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup to request that the impeachment process be commenced.
“Judge Black has demonstrated his incompetence by allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence,” Becker wrote. “This will begin the process of restoring state sovereignty back to the original intent of the US Constitution.”
However, Wenstrup said that he will wait for the appeals court to rule before taking any action.
“While Judge Black’s ruling violated the Ohio Constitution and the will of Ohio voters, the question of whether this decision also violated the U.S. Constitution remains before a higher court,” he wrote in a statement. “I will watch those appellate proceedings closely to see if Judge Black’s decision is upheld and I have full confidence in the Ohio’s office of the Attorney General during the appeals process.”
Becker said that he will fight the case to the best of his ability.
“I see this as a like a future Roe versus Wade type of case,” he commented. “And if there’s anything I can do to head that off and stop it, that’s what I intend to do.”
Black is expected to rule on the matter in December.