Judge Timothy Black said in federal court Friday that he will order Ohio to recognize out-of-state marriages. The order will be a step towards recognizing gay marriages in Ohio, but the state will still keep its ban on performing same-sex marriages.
Black made his announcement during the final arguments of a recent lawsuit which challenged the gay marriage ban. The lawsuit was filed by four gay couples in Ohio and the representing legal team asked Black to say that Ohio's gay marriage ban is "facially unconstitutional, invalid and unenforceable."
The team also wants the window open for additional litigation that would force the state to lift its ban on gay marriage. "This is a serious problem at the basic level of human dignity," said civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein during Friday's arguments, "That human dignity is denied by the way Ohio treats same-sex couples." State attorneys argued that it is Ohio's sole province to define gay marriage between a woman and a man, which they assert is the "traditional definition."
Gay marriage is currently legal in 17 states and federal judges have struck down bans in states such as Michigan, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Black says he will issue the ruling on April 14th, though Dan Tierney, a spokesman for Ohio's attorney general, said the state will appeal Black's order when it comes out.