Expansion of Ohio same-sex decedent rights issue

Returning to one of our earlier “same-sex” nuances, Jurist yesterday morning related Ohio Southern District Judge Timothy Black, who, back in July & September  ruled the surviving same-sex spouses of two decedents should be listed as spouses on their death certificates because their marriages were valid under the laws of the states where they were performed, has now “granted a motion to expand the precedent to all similarly situated couples,” whereas his previous orders limited the scope of precedent to those parties there named. (Obergefell/ Arthur decision)(Michener/Ives)

Attorneys have filed an amended complaint now addressing the issue as “[a] civil rights case challenge as to the unconstitutional the application of the Ohio statute and state constitutional amendment that deny legal recognition in Ohio to the marriages of same-sex couples who are married in one of the many states and numerous foreign countries where same-sex marriages are legal,” asking the judge to direct his decision to mandate compliance by the Ohio Health Department's internal policies for death certificates.

Judge Black’s rulings in the matter have far from gone unnoticed, a Washington Post article reporting yesterday that “his ruling has sparked backlash from opponents of gay marriage, including state Rep. John Becker, a Union Township Republican who last week called for Black’s impeachment.

“ ‘The grounds are malfeasance and abuse of power,’ Becker wrote in a letter to U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup in which he asked the congressman to begin impeachment proceedings. ‘Judge Black has demonstrated his incompetence by allowing his personal political bias to supersede jurisprudence.’ “