Federal judge to strike down Ohio gay marriage ban

By Kyle Johnson,

A federal judge announced on Friday that he intends to rule that Ohio's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

The law will stand until U.S. district Judge Timothy Black issues a written decision, which he indicated would likely be done by mid-April, reports CNN. He noted that the law would be struck down "as unconstitutional under all circumstances."

The ruling won't make it legal for same-sex couples to marry in the state, rather it would force Ohio to recognize already legally married same-sex couples.

Several gay couples brought a lawsuit against the state, while officials argue that the state should have the right to define gay marriage and not a courtroom.

The state passed a law banning gay marriage in 2004, with 62 percent favoring the ban. Voters' views on gay marriage seems to have shifted somewhat since then though, as a Quinnipiac University survey found that 50 percent backed gay marriage, while only 44 percent were opposed.

Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson applauded the decision saying, "Today's decision will make a real difference to legally married gay Ohio couples, affirming that their home state may not deny them and their families legal protections."

Reuters notes that National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown was less pleased with Black's statement saying that, "This is an affront to the rule of law and to the people of Ohio who voted overwhelmingly to define marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman."

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