LGBT Rights Press Release


ACLU Reaction to 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Overturning Lower Court Decisions that had Struck Down Marriage Bans

CINCINNATI – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit today reversed the district court rulings of six cases from Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky. In each of these states, a federal judge had ruled in favor of marriage for same-sex couples and all six rulings were appealed to the 6th Circuit. Today’s ruling essentially upholds marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky and denies same sex couples the right to marry or have their marriages recognized in these states.

Chase Strangio, staff attorney in the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, issued the following statement:

“This decision is an outlier that’s incompatible with the 50 other rulings that uphold fairness for all families, as well as with the Supreme Court’s decision to let marriage equality rulings stand in Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia. It is shameful and wrong that John Arthur’s death certificate may have to be revised to list him as single and erase his husband’s name as his surviving spouse. We believe it’s wholly unconstitutional to deny same sex couples and their families access to the rights and respect that all other families receive. We will be filing for Supreme Court review right away and hope that through this deeply disappointing ruling we will be able to bring a uniform rule of equality to the entire country.”

In one Ohio case, Obergefell, et al. v. Himes, the district court ruled Ohio’s marriage ban unconstitutional as applied to the recognition of marriages for purposes of death certificates. The state appealed that ruling. The ACLU, ACLU of Ohio and Alphonse Gerhardstein of Gerhardstein & Branch filed suit on behalf of Jim Obergefell and David Michener, two widowers from Cincinnati, and Robert Grunn, a funeral director. Another Ohio case, Henry v. Himes, dealt with the state’s recognition of out-of-state marriages for same sex couples and accurate birth certificates listing both parents for children born to legally married same-sex couples.

“This is a blow to all Ohioans as no family should be told by the government that they do not count,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “Our work to ensure marriage equality will continue until all Ohio couples have the freedom to marry.”