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Judge orders recognition of another same-sex marriage in Ohio

State must list Michener as surviving spouse on partner’s death certificate

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A judge has granted another restraining order in Ohio to recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple.

A judge has granted another restraining order in Ohio to recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple.

More than one month after the story of same-sex couple seeking recognition of their marriage moved the country, the federal judge that ordered Ohio to observe that union has now done the same for a gay man seeking recognition of his union to his departed spouse.

In a three-page restraining order, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black on Tuesday ordered the State of Ohio recognize the marriage of a Cincinnati couple that married in Delaware in July, but where one person in the relationship unexpectedly died of natural causes last month.

Black ruled that David Michener, the surviving spouse in the relationship, is eligible for the restraining order because of immediate need for action as well as the likely success of his claim that the state constitutional amendment in Ohio barring recognition of his marriage violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments under the U.S. Constitution.

“On this record, there is insufficient evidence of a legitimate state interest to justify this singling out of same sex married couples given the severe and irreparable harm it imposes on David Michener,” Black writes.

Additionally, the judge allows Michener to join with plaintiff James Obergefell as part of the lawsuit seeking marriage equality in Ohio known as Obergefell v. Kasich.

Michener and his partner, William Herbert Ives, had been together 18 years and adopted three children together. After they lawfully married in Delaware last month, Ives unexpected died of natural causes on Aug. 27.

Ives’ remains are at the funeral home, and his cremation was scheduled for Wednesday. For the cremation to proceed, a death certificate must be issued. However, under current law, Ohio won’t recognize the couples as married. Michener sought a death certificate that lists him as a “surviving spouse” and recognizes him as married.

The judge on Tuesday granted that request through another temporary restraining order that enjoins state officials, including Gov. John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine, from enforcing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage with respect to this couple. The order is set to expire on Sept. 17 unless the court decides to extend it.

Alphonse Gerhardstein, the private attorney representing Michener, said his client is unavailable to answer questions from the media.

“He must cremate his spouse and be strong for his three children,” Gerhardstein said. “That is his focus now and he cannot respond to press questions.”

Dan Tierney, a DeWine spokesperson, said the attorney general declines to comment at this time, but added there’s no way to appeal a temporary restraining order.

Michener is granted a restraining order after the same judge granted an earlier restraining order requiring Ohio to recognize the marriage of Obergefell to John Arthur, who’s terminally ill with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The couple flew to Maryland in the plane specially fitted for Arthur, married on the Baltimore airport tarmac and returned to Ohio the next day. They sued Ohio to ensure Obergefell would be listed as a surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said the judge was correct in his order and it demonstrates the need to lift the prohibition on same-sex marriage in Ohio.

“Ohio’s marriage discrimination imposes ‘severe and irreparable harm’ on loving and committed same-sex couples who deserve and need the same respect and legal safety-net as other married couples,” Wolfson said. “Ohioans were stampeded into putting marriage discrimination into their state constitution before they had a chance to really think it through. The amendment violates the U.S. Constitution and thus must fall.”

[h/t] Kathleen Perrin

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Roderick Bateman

    September 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Look at all this anti-whitism. In the 60's, anti-whites forced ALL and ONLY white countries to bring in millions of non-whites. Then anti-whites forced ALL and ONLY white people to “integrate” or face penalties for being “naziswhowantokill6millionjews.” Now anti-whites are praising and counting down the days till ALL and ONLY white children are minorities and extinct EVERYWHERE. That makes it genocide. “Anti-racist” is a codeword for anti-white. /watch? v=lKDeyuM0-Og

  2. George M Melby

    September 6, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    I've had a number of Ohioan friends tell me that marriage equality will never arrive in Ohio. Now I m gratified to know that this will not always be the case. One or two more lawsuits against their Constitutional amendment will ensure the completion of this much needed law! So be it!
    GMM, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  3. AuntFritzToldMe

    September 6, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    What is the point of your comment, and how does it relate to the subject at hand? Methinks you are lost on the internet!

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Liz Cheney: ‘I was wrong’ to have opposed same-sex marriage

Trump critic reverses after public spat with lesbian sister

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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) (Photo via Facebook)

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), one of a handful of Republicans who have criticized President Trump in his actions to attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election, has now said she “was wrong” to have opposed same-sex marriage.

Liz Cheney, whose sister Mary Cheney is a lesbian and married to a woman, made the comments during an interview on “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night after Lesley Stahl asked the Republican about her one-time opposition to marriage rights for gay couples.

“I was wrong. I was wrong,” Liz Cheney said, whose opposition to same-sex marriage had formerly made her estranged to her sister. The two have since reconciled.

“I love my sister very much. I love her family very much, and I was wrong,” added Liz Cheney, who appeared emotional. “It’s a very personal issue and very personal for my family. I believe my dad was right, and my sister and I have had that conversation.”

Cheney makes the comments after she has been ostracized by the Republican Party over her vote to impeach former President Trump and her participation in the congressional panel on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Liz Cheney has publicly come to regret her former opposition to same-sex marriage after a sea change in public opinion on the issue. For the first time this year, a majority of Republicans, 55 percent, are in support of marriage rights for gay couples and a record high of 70 percent of Americans are behind it, according to a Gallup poll released in June.

Blade readers remember the public spat Liz and Mary Cheney had over same-sex marriage in the 2013, which reflected the division over the issue at the time among conservatives, when the former when first considering a congressional run.

Former Vice President Richard Cheney, the father of the two and considered an early supporter of same-sex marriage, with his spouse Lynne Cheney acknowledged in a statement at the time family conflict over same-sex marriage “is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it become public.”

“Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage,” Richard and Lynne said at the time. “She has also always treated her sister and her sister’s family with love and respect.”

Since that time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. Liz Cheney as a member of Congress never had an option to weigh in the issue of same-sex marriage, having been seated well after the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment were debated in Congress.

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Biden recognizes 10th anniversary of end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Pete Buttigieg, Gina Ortiz Jones named in White House statement

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President Biden recognized in a statement on Monday the tenth anniversary of the end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that once discharged service members from the military for being openly gay or bisexual.

“Ten years ago today, a great injustice was remedied and a tremendous weight was finally lifted off the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated American service members,” Biden said. “The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ which formally barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from openly serving, helped move our nation closer to its foundational promise of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all.”

Biden recognized high-profile openly gay appointees in his administrations who are also veterans, naming Air Force Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Biden also names Shawn Skelly, assistant secretary of defense for readiness, who would have been discharged from the military under President Trump’s transgender military ban.

“On this day and every day, I am thankful for all of the LGBTQ+ service members and veterans who strengthen our military and our nation,” Biden said. “We must honor their sacrifice by continuing the fight for full equality for LGBTQ+ people, including by finally passing the Equality Act and living up to our highest values of justice and equality for all.”

Technically speaking, the anniversary of Obama signing repeal legislation was in December. Today is the anniversary of defense officials certifying the military is ready, which put an end to the policy.

Read Biden’s full statement below:

Statement by President Joe Biden on the Tenth Anniversary of the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Ten years ago today, a great injustice was remedied and a tremendous weight was finally lifted off the shoulders of tens of thousands of dedicated American service members. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which formally barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members from openly serving, helped move our nation closer to its foundational promise of equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. It was the right thing to do. And, it showed once again that America is at its best when we lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.

Despite serving with extraordinary honor and courage throughout our history, more than 100,000 American service members have been discharged because of their sexual orientation or gender identity—including some 14,000 under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Many of these veterans received what are known as “other than honorable” discharges, excluding them and their families from the vitally important services and benefits they had sacrificed so much to earn.

As a U.S. Senator, I supported allowing service members to serve openly, and as Vice President, I was proud to champion the repeal of this policy and to stand beside President Obama as he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act into law. As President, I am honored to be Commander-in-Chief of the strongest and most inclusive military in our nation’s history. Today, our military doesn’t just welcome LGBTQ+ service members—it is led at the highest levels by brave LGBTQ+ veterans, including Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness Shawn Skelly, who served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was gratified to appoint the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and Afghanistan veteran who joined the military under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And during my first week in office, I proudly delivered on my pledge to repeal the discriminatory ban on open service by patriotic transgender service members.

On this day and every day, I am thankful for all of the LGBTQ+ service members and veterans who strengthen our military and our nation. We must honor their sacrifice by continuing the fight for full equality for LGBTQ+ people, including by finally passing the Equality Act and living up to our highest values of justice and equality for all.

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HHS awards more than $48 million to HRSA centers in effort to beat HIV/AIDS

Biden campaigned on beating epidemic by 2025

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HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra hailed the contribution of more than $48 million to beat HIV/AIDS. (photo public domain)

The Biden administration has awarded more than $48 million to medical centers under Health Resources & Services Administration in localities with high incidents of HIV infection as part of the initiative to beat the disease, the Washington Blade has learned exclusively.

Xavier Becerra, secretary of health and human services, said in a statement the contributions are key component of the initiative, which is called “Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S.” and seeks to reduce new infections by 90 percent by 2030.

“HHS-supported community health centers are often a key point of entry to HIV prevention and treatment services, especially for underserved populations,” Becerra said in a statement. “I am proud of the role they play in providing critical services to 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. Today’s awards will ensure equitable access to services free from stigma and discrimination, while advancing the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2025.”

The $48 million contribution went to HRSA centers 271 HRSA-supported health centers across 26 states, Puerto Rico and D.C. — areas identified with the highest rates of HIV infections — to expand HIV prevention and treatment services, including access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as well as outreach and care coordination, according to HHS.

The Ending the HIV Epidemic was set up under the Trump administration, which made PrEP a generic drug after an accelerated effort and set a goal of beating HIV by 2030. Biden has continued the project, after campaigning on beating HIV a full five years earlier in 2025. Observers, however, are skeptical he can meet that goal.

Diana Espinosa, acting HRSA administrator, said in a statement the $48 million will go a long way in reaching goals to beat HIV/AIDS.

“We know our Health Center Program award recipients are well-positioned to advance the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative, with a particular focus on facilitating access to PrEP, because of their integrated service delivery model,” Espinosa said. “By integrating HIV services into primary care, and providing essential enabling services like language access or case management, HRSA-supported health centers increase access to care and improve health outcomes for patients living with HIV.”

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