News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Levin Furniture

Wayside Furniture

Hennes Paynter Communications

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics

Latest lawsuit opposing Ohio's gay marriage ban won't stop ballot plans
The 2004 constitutional amendment continues to be challenged in the courts while an election battle brews

Jo Ingles
Courtesy of Freedom to Marry
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Earlier this week, a couple from Northeast Ohio filed a federal court suit, saying they are being denied a family insurance plan on the federal health care exchange because of Ohio’s amendment banning gay marriage.

Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles takes a look at what effect, if any, that lawsuit will have on the effort to repeal that amendment.

Hear more about the law suit against Ohio's gay marriage ban.

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:19)

Cleveland-area residents Al Cowger Jr. and Tony Wesley Jr. have been together for 28 years. They were married in upstate New York in 2012 and have a 7-year-old adopted daughter.

Yet under the constitutional ban on gay marriage Ohio voters passed in 2004, their marriage is not recognized here. 

Cowger, an attorney, says that caused problems for him recently when he tried to replace a family health insurance policy that had been cancelled because of the new Affordable Care Act.

“When we went to the marketplace to find a new policy, we found out that because our New York marriage is not deemed valid in Ohio, we could not get a family policy via the marketplace,” Cowger said. “And if we wanted to get a family policy, it would have to outside the marketplace that it would cost us about twice as much as we had been paying for health insurance.”

A broader request
So Cowger is asking a federal court to allow him to purchase a family health care plan. But that’s not all.

“The second broader request is that the Ohio constitutional provision that forbids same sex marriages be overturned on the grounds that it is simply unconstitutional,” Cowger said. “And that is following a whole line of case law that has come out very quickly over the past couple of years.”

There have been cases in other states where courts have ruled the rights of same sex couples are being denied because of gay marriage bans

Recently in Ohio, a federal court ruled a gay couple who were married in another state should be designated as married on a state-sanctioned death certificate. And there’s another case pending, asking a federal court to allow both members of a gay married couple to be listed on their children'sOhio birth certificates. 

The ballot issue
While all of this is happening in the courts, there’s a group that’s been circulating petitions in Ohio to try to put a repeal of the gay marriage ban before voters this fall.

Ian James heads the Freedom to Marry Ohio campaign.  He says these lawsuits won’t have an effect on his campaign.

“These are all surgical litigation that follows in with FreedomOhio’s all of the above strategy,” James said. “You go to court. You find a way through the courts.  You go to the ballot. You talk to the voters. You have a public relations campaign.  You have a grass roots campaign. All of the above must be taken into account and we must follow through with each of those to find equality.”

James says it’s important to realize the courts won’t be able to end Ohio’s ban on gay marriage as fast as voters can.

“The reality is these lawsuits will go through one court, they’ll go to appeals court, the appeals court could uphold the earlier decision or reject it or they could kick it back down to the lower courts and start the process all over again,” James said. “Inevitably, it’s going to get to the U.S. Supreme Court where they are going to decide but that is years away.”

The state’s largest gay rights group, Equality Ohio, has expressed reservations about the amendment and the timing of it this year.  But James says marriage equality can’t wait because gay families are dealing with serious inequities now.


Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

Great Lakes conference considers a range of threats
Your article states "Studies discovered over half of all PAHs found in the Great Lakes region come from a single source: Coal tar sealants.". I'm curious to whi...

ODOT awards Kent-based Davey Research Group nearly $50,000 to improve highway landscapes
This is an outrageous waste of taxpayer's money. Good for only Davey Tree and their cronies in the State government. It takes $50k to figure out the way to save...

Canton: another Northeast Ohio city is planning its comeback
Historic Ridgewood and the Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority have no seats at the table. Very flawed right out of the gate. Ridgewood pays a huge percentage...

Property owners oppose a wind farm in Northern Ohio
Here is a link, exposing the connivance of the fossil fuel industry, in trying to prevent us from moving away from their outdated, filthy, and expensive forms o...

A new industry in Ohio aims to repurpose river sediment
and where do those PCB's end up??the story never says

A safe space: How Northeast Ohio colleges try to fight sexual assault
Very good and thorough job on a very sensitive topic!

Akron police shoot and kill a man following a North Hill robbery
Was on scene when they was trying to bring him back to life he looked dead there before he ever got into ambulance

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University