LGBT rights in Ohio
|LGBT rights in Ohio|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1974|
|Gender identity/expression||State does not alter sex on birth certificates for transsexuals|
|Discrimination protections||Sexual orientation protections in state employment|
|None statewide; Same-sex marriage recognized (for death certificate purposes only)|
|Ohio State Issue 1 limits marriage to man/woman, places restrictions on non-marriage types of same-sex unions|
|Adoption||Stepparent adoption illegal|
- 1 Laws against same-sex sexual activity
- 2 Recognition of same-sex relationships
- 3 Parenting
- 4 Discrimination protections
- 5 Hate crime
- 6 Freedom of expression
- 7 Gender reassignment
- 8 See also
- 9 References
Laws against same-sex sexual activity
Ohio adopted its first sodomy law in 1885 and revised it to include fellatio in 1889. It became the eighth state to repeal its sodomy statute on December 22, 1972. It remained a misdemeanor to propose sodomy to another person, but in 1979 a state court decision narrowed that provision to cover only cases in which the proposition was "unwelcome".
Recognition of same-sex relationships
In 2004, voters approved a constitutional amendment, Ohio State Issue 1, that banned same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state. It passed with 62% of the vote. Its impact on the state's domestic abuse law was later clarified when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the language of the statute that referred to a victim of abuse who was "living as a spouse" with a defendant did not constitute the creation of a legal status. Cleveland Taxpayers v. Cleveland, a lawsuit challenging domestic partnership registries as violating the amendment, failed in October 2010.
FreedomOhio and Equality Ohio are considering a ballot initiative for the 2014 or 2016 elections which would replace the constitutional amendment to allow same-sex marriage. Two prominent Republicans, Senator Rob Portman and former Attorney General Jim Petro, support repealing the same-sex marriage ban.
Obergefell v. Wymyslo
A Cincinnati, Ohio, same-sex couple filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Southern District of Ohio on July 19, 2013, alleging that the state discriminates against same-sex couples who have married lawfully out-of-state. Because one partner, John Arthur, is terminally ill and suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the couple wants the Ohio Registrar to identify the other partner, James Obergefell, as his surviving spouse on his death certificate based on their July 11, 2013, Maryland marriage. The local Ohio Registrar believes that discriminating against the same-sex married couple is unconstitutional, but the state Attorney General's office has announced plans to defend Ohio's same-sex marriage ban. The suit, Obergefell v. Kasich, originally named Ohio governor John Kasich as the lead named defendant.
On July 22, District Judge Timothy S. Black granted the same-sex couple's motion, temporarily restraining the Ohio Registrar from accepting for recording any death certificate unless it recorded the deceased's status at death as "married" and his partner as "surviving spouse." Black wrote that "[t]hroughout Ohio's history, Ohio law has been clear: a marriage solemnized outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where solemnized" and noted that certain marriages between cousins or minors, while unlawful if performed in Ohio, are recognized by the state if legal when solemnized in other jurisdictions. He noted "the restrictions imposed on marriage by states, however, must nonetheless comply with the Constitution," citing Loving v. Virginia and Zablocki v. Redhail cases where state law restricted from marriage interracial couples, and those owing child support, respectively, that those laws violated couples' equal protection guarantees established by the Fourteenth Amendment. Finding recent precedent in Windsor v. United States and Romer v. Evans persuasive when applied to discrimination against persons in same-sex relationships, the judge wrote:
In derogation of law, the Ohio scheme has unjustifiably created two tiers of couples: (1) opposite-sex married couples legally married in other states; and (2) same-sex married couples legally married in other states. This lack of equal protection of law is fatal.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine indicated he would not appeal the preliminary order but would continue to defend the amendment and statute that prevent the state from recognizing a same-sex marriage.
On August 13, 2013, Black extended the temporary restraining order until the end of December and scheduled oral arguments on injunctive relief, which is permanent, for December 18, 2013. In the meantime, the plaintiffs drafted a two motions: First, to amend the complaint to include a funeral director as a plaintiff; he would possibly face criminal charges in listing a same-sex couple as married on a death certificate. The complaint would also be amended to prevent dismissal due to mootness should the terminally-ill spouse die before the case concludes. Second, the state defendant Governor Kasich would be dismissed as a defendant, as issues of state sovereignty might arise; he would be replaced by the Director of the Department of Health. Finally, several of the plaintiffs' claims were dropped due to recent changes in Federal law through Windsor.
On September 25, Black granted the plaintiffs leave to file their amended complaint and also granted the motion to dismiss the improper defendants, i.e. the governor and the state attorney general. The health department director was substituted as the lead defendant, the case caption changed to Obergefell v. Wymyslo.
On October 22, 2013, the terminally-ill plaintiff, John Arthur, died. The state defendants moved to dismiss the case as moot. Judge Black, in his order dated November 1, 2013, recognized "As fully anticipated by all parties, Plaintiff John Arthur died very recently ... The question now arises whether this lawsuit dies with him." Answering his own question, the judge posits: "Believing that courts are designed to be places of recourse, and that judges are not to duck legal questions simply because they are difficult or because the initial status quo has changed, this Court determines that this lawsuit is not amenable to dismissal but instead shall proceed to a full and final disposition, in the trial court, before the new year." Denying the motion to dismiss, Judge Black stated this case will be resolved in late December, 2013.
On December 23, 2013, Black ruled that Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions on death certificates. He wrote: "When a state effectively terminates the marriage of a same-sex couple married in another jurisdiction, it intrudes into the realm of private marital, family, and intimate relations specifically protected by the Supreme Court". On January 17, 2014, DeWine filed notice in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that he would appeal that decision. On February 14, the plaintiffs asked the Sixth Circuit to set an expedited schedule for briefing and argument, noting that the Ninth and Tenth Circuit's had done so in similar cases.
Birth certificate lawsuit
On February 10, 2014, four same-sex couples married in other states filed suit in federal court seeking to force the state to list both parents on their children's birth certificates. Three couples were women living in Ohio, each anticipating the birth of a child later in 2014. The fourth was a male couple living in New York with their adopted son who was born in Ohio in 2013.
Health insurance lawsuit
On February 18, 2014, two men married in New York in 2012, fathers of an adopted daughter since 2006, filed suit against the federal and state governments in U.S. District Court seeking to obtain family healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. They had previously obtained family coverage based on their Illinois domestic partnership.
A March 2013 Saperstein poll for the Columbus Dispatch revealed that 54 percent of Ohio residents surveyed supported a proposed amendment that would overturn the state's 2004 constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
An August 2013 Public Policy Polling survey of 551 Ohio voters found that 48 percent of respondents support same-sex marriage, while 42 percent remain opposed. Ten percent said they were not sure. The survey is the first from PPP to find plurality support for gay nuptials in Ohio. Pollsters also found that 69 percent of Ohioans support either marriage (44%) or civil unions (25%) for gay couples, including a majority (54%) of Republican voters. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said that there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship.
A December 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey found that 53% of Ohio residents support same-sex marriage, while 38% opposed, and 9% didn't know or refused to answer.
Domestic partnership registries
Nine cities, village of Yellow Springs, and Cuyahoga County offer domestic partnership registries in Ohio. The first city to offer domestic partnerships was Cleveland Heights in 2003, which was passed by voter referendum. Toledo began offering domestic partnerships in 2007. In 2008, the Cleveland City Council created a domestic partner registry. In 2011, the Athens City Council established a domestic partner registry. In 2012, the Dayton City Commission, the Cincinnati City Council, and the Columbus City Council approved ordinances creating domestic partnership registries. Yellow Springs and Oberlin created domestic partnership registries in 2012, as did Cuyahoga County.
Single homosexual individuals are permitted to adopt in Ohio. Despite no explicit prohibition, courts have not allowed same-sex couples to do so. Second-parent adoptions are only available to someone recognized by the state as the spouse of the first parent.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity, is prohibited within state employment by an executive order issued by Governor John Kasich on January 21, 2011. There are no statewide protections in Ohio for sexual orientation and gender identity outside of state employment.
Twenty-nine Ohio cities and counties have anti-discrimination ordinances prohibiting discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation.
Ohio's hate crime laws address violence based on race, color, religion or national origin, but not on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Freedom of expression
In 2012, 16 year-old high school student Maverick Couch, represented by Lambda Legal, sued the Waynesville Local School District after being told he could not come to school wearing a t-shirt with the words "Jesus is not a homophobe" because it was "sexual in nature and therefore indecent". The suit ended in a judgement in federal court in Cincinnati agreed to by all parties to the suit that affirmed Couch's right to wear the shirt to school and ordered the school district to pay $20,000 in damages and legal fees.
Following a 1987 court case, In re Ladrach, Ohio does not allow persons born in the state to amend the sex information on their birth certificates following sex reassignment surgery.
- Politics of Ohio
- LGBT rights in the United States
- Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States
- Equality Ohio
- Law of Ohio
- Eskridge, William N. (2008). Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003. NY: Viking Penguin. pp. 49, 50, 180.
- "Ohio citizens approve Issue 1". The Post (Ohio University). November 3, 2004. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
- Weiss, Debra Cassens. "Ohio Domestic Violence Law Upheld". ABA Journal. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- "Cleveland Taxpayers v. Cleveland". Our Work. Lambda Legal. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
- "Ohio could get chance to approve same-sex marriage". Cleveland.com. June 26, 2013.
- "After SCOTUS rulings on gay marriage, what’s next for Ohio?". Columbus Monthly. June 2013.
- "Jim Petro, Former Ohio GOP Attorney General, Backs Campaign To Overturn State Gay Marriage Ban". Huffington Post. July 8, 2013.
- Hastings, Deborah (July 15, 2013). "Terminally ill Ohio gay man gets dying wish, marries partner after being flown to another state". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- "Cincinnati lawsuit challenges Ohio's same-sex marriage ban". WVXU. July 19, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
- Docket 1:2013-cv-00501-TSB, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division
- "Ohio Officials Ordered To Recognize Gay Couple's Marriage". Buzzfeed. July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
- "Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order". Obergefell v. Kasich, Docket 1:13-cv-00501-TSB, U.S. So. Dist. Ohio (2013). July 22, 2013.
- Geidner, Chris (July 25, 2013). "Ohio Attorney General Has No Plans To Appeal Temporary Restraining Order In Gay Couple’s Case". BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- "Gay Ohio Couple Win Extension Recognizing Marriage". Edge Boston. August 13, 2013.
- "Ohio Gay Marriage Lawsuit Seeking Death Certificate Recognition To Include Similarly Situated Couples". Huffington Post. September 25, 2013.
- Order Denying the Motion to Dismiss. Obergefell v. Wymyslo, 1:2013-cv-00501-TSB, U.S. So. Dist. Ohio (2013).
- Bzdek, Vincent; Sewell, Dan (23 December 2013). "Ohio's ban on gay marriage ruled unconstitutional in limited case". Washington Post. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- "DeWine appeals federal judge's ruling on same-sex marriages". Columbus Dispatch. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Motion to Expedite, February 14, 2014, accessed February 20, 2014
- Myers, Amanda Lee (February 10, 2014). "Couples Sue to Force Ohio's Hand on Gay Marriage". ABC News. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- "Ohio gay couple sues after being denied Obamacare coverage". Reuters. February 18, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Somashekhar, Sandhya; Craighill, Peyton M. (October 9, 2012). "Polls in Fla., Ohio and Va. see same-sex marriage support". Washington Post. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Rowland, Darrel (March 24, 2012). "Poll: Ohio marriage views shift". Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
- "Plurality Of Ohioans Support Gay Marriage". On Top Magazine. August 23, 2013.
- A Shifting Landscape
- "Domestic Partner Registration". City of Cleveland Heights, OH. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Northeast Ohio. "Blog.Cleveland.com". Blog.Cleveland.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- November 2, 2013 (2011-06-16). "City to start registering domestic partners". Athensohiotoday.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Domestic Partnership Registry". Cityofdayton.org. 2012-06-01. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Dayton, Cincinnati OK Measures For Domestic Partnerships - On Top Magazine | Gay news & entertainment. Ontopmag.com. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- July 31, 2012 (2012-07-31). "Columbus City Council Creates Domestic Partner Registry". Plunderbund.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Joshua Gunter, Plain Dealer file photo. "Cuyahoga County approves domestic partner benefits". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Filed on September 21, 2012 by Cindy Leise (2012-09-21). "Oberlin Council approves domestic partner registry - Chronicle-Telegram". Chronicle.northcoastnow.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Ohio Adoption Law | Human Rights Campaign". Hrc.org. 2009-12-14. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "Establishing an Anti-Discrimination Policy in State Government Employment". Order 2011-05K, January 21, 2011. State of Ohio. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- "Anti-discrimination Ordinances in Ohio". ACLU of Ohio. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
- Vindy: "Ohio’s hate-crime law falls short — as incidents reveal", accessed February 16, 2014
- Martin, Shawn (April 4, 2012). "Ohio teen Maverick Couch takes school to court over 'Jesus is not a homophobe' shirt". ABC15. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Budd, Lawrence (May 4, 2012). "District proposes T-shirt case settlement". The Western Star. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Michael, Gryboski (May 22, 2012). "Court Judgment: Ohio Student Can Wear 'Jesus Is Not a Homophobe' Shirt,". Christian Post. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Levi, Jennifer L.; Monnin-Browder, Elizabeth E., eds. (2012). Transgender Family Law: A Guide to Effective Advocacy. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. pp. 59n58.