o-MIKE-DEWINE-facebookThe bill has come due, and it’s $1.3 million. That’s how much money in attorneys fees Attorney General Mike DeWine cost Ohio by losing the defense of his religious beliefs in our name.

That figure is not to mention the time and money he spent in court hours, staff hours and the personal attention DeWine gave the case.

For his effort, the U.S. Supreme Court in June handed DeWine a righteous and swift kick to the back of the pants, ruling against him in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case 5-4, thereby ensuring marriage equality throughout America.

From Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Equality before the law is as fundamental as it gets for any people who mean to exercise self-governance in a democratic republic.

Mike DeWine cost our state $1.3 million arguing otherwise, and a whopper of an argument it was too.

DeWine made before the court one of the most tortured, callous, self-contradictory, unintentionally hilarious, and ultimately sickening arguments I’ve had the pleasure to ponder.

In Mike DeWine’s twisted estimation, gay people didn’t qualify for judicial protection because they had enough power to obtain political protection that they haven’t had enough power in Ohio to obtain.

Essentially, DeWine argued for some sort of Goldilocks period where groups seeking equality before the law should only be able to bring such litigation when they had amassed enough power to earn judicial sympathy but not enough to seek other, political avenues of redress. And Obergefell didn’t make DeWine’s standard–because gay people in Ohio have so much power, he solemnly argued.

Luckily, such a Goldilocks period only exists in the fevered legal imagination of Mike DeWine, and has never been a requirement of the courts, U.S. Supreme or otherwise.

So Mike DeWine lost, badly, and now we must pay.

From Cleveland.com:

The state of Ohio agreed Monday to pay $1.3 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses to the law firm that successfully challenged the state’s gay marriage ban.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Black approved the agreement between the Ohio Department of Health and the Cincinnati-based firm of Gerhardstein & Branch Co. LPA. Gerhardstein represented gay and lesbian Ohioans who contested the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all statewide gay-marriage bans in a landmark 5-4 ruling.

A spokesman for Attorney General Mike DeWine, whose office defended the ban in the case, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Monday evening.

Ohio is only one of several states to be billed for gay-marriage cases. Last month, Michigan agreed to pay $1.9 million in legal fees to the attorneys who overturned that state’s gay-marriage ban; South Carolina will pay $135,000.

D.C. DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He is the Associate Editor of The Athens NEWS in Athens, Ohio. DeWitt can be found on Facebook and Twitter @DC_DeWitt.