Another lawsuit has been filed to push Ohio towards marriage equality.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that four couples have filed a federal suit seeking to list both same sex parents on their children’s birth certificates.  Currentlty, Ohio allows both married parents of opposite sexes to be listed on their children’s birth certificates, but only one of the married parents of a same sex couple.

The suit follows a case last year brought by a married same sex couple who wanted the surviving spouse listed on a death certificate.   A copy of the complaint is available here.

The same sex couples who brought this suit are as “traditionally conservative” pro-family as they come.  They are in committed long-term relationships and seek to raise a child in a stable two-parent environment.

  • One of the same sex couples was married last month in New York.  They are expecting a baby boy in June 2014.
  • Another couple was married in California in 2008.  Their son was born in 2010.  They expect another baby in June. Although both women act as the mother of their son, only the birth-mother is listed on the birth certificate.  They describe the problems caused by not having both parents on the brth certificate as “degrading and humiliating for the family”
  • The third couple was married in Massachusetts in 2011.  They are expecting a baby in June 2014.  According to the complaint, the “child will have two parents but will have a birth certificate that only lists one of them as a parent.”
  • The final couple was married in New York in 2011.  They adopted a baby born in Ohio in 2013.  While opposite sex couples who adopt a baby in Ohio are permitted to obtain a birth certificate with the child’s adoptive name and the names of both parents, this same sex couple is only able to obtain a certificate listing one of the couple as a parent.

Back in December, we wrote that the death certificate decision was “a red carpet invitation for someone to make a broader attack on Ohio’s ban on same sex marraiges.”  Now a number of same sex couples of walling down that red carpet; we expect more to follow.

From a strictly legal standpoint, same sex marriage is still not legal in Ohio.

However, from a practical standpoint, this lawsuit, if successful, means that same sex marriage is, indeed, legal in Ohio.  (Remember, you heard it here first.)  If a same sex couple is married in another state, then Ohio must recognize this marriage in all applicable documents, certificates, laws, etc . . .

Now, Attorney General DeWine faces a decision.  He can continue to fight against the tide of same sex marriage and deny the children mentioned in the latest lawsuit the benefits of two parents.   Or he can do what the attorneys general in Virginia and Pennsylvania have done, and acknowledge that Ohio’s ban on recognizing same sex marriages from other states in unconstitutional and refuse to defend the current state of the law.

If he is confused about what to do and needs some help, we suggest he just ask his inner Helen Lovejoy: “what would be best for these children?”