A dying man’s wish was granted on Monday according to a July 23 report by USA Today. A federal judge has ruled that John Arthur, who is just days from death, and his spouse James Obergefell are legally married in the state of Ohio.
Arthur and Obergefell were legally married in the state of Maryland just two weeks ago although the couple has been together for 20 years. The couple wants to spend eternity together by being buried next to each other but in the state of Ohio, there is a ban on same-sex marriage and their marriage wouldn’t be recognized in the state and to add to that Arthur’s relatives won’t let Obergefell be buried next to his husband if the decision was left to them so the couple sued Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Cincinnati doctor responsible for approving death certificates.
The couple asked U.S. District Magistrate Judge Tim Black to overturn the existing Ohio law which would then allow Obergefell to be listed as the surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate and therefore showing the legality of their marriage. As the law stood, Obergefell wouldn’t have been allowed to be buried next to Arthur because there are stipulations on the family plots. Documents state that only direct descendents and their spouses can be buried in the family plot.
Obergefell testified on Monday that with the longevity of their relationship, which spanned 20 years, the couple deserved to be beside each other “in perpetuity”.
Black’s ruling on late Monday validated their marriage and will now allow the couple to be buried next to one another as legally married. The case and the decision may now set the stage for gay marriage advocates to challenge Ohio’s ban on gay marriage.
Al Gerhardstein, the civil-rights lawyer who represented the couple believes the ruling “is going to open the door to create a large number of same-sex couples married in other states” to at least attempt to change the law.
It will be a long fight in the state of Ohio to overturn the ban. But on Monday, a dying man’s wish has legalize marriage in the state of Ohio for at least one same-sex couple.