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Judge: Ohio must recognize same sex marriages from states where it is legal

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- A federal judge ruled Monday that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages performed in states where it's legal.

Judge Timothy Black's ruling does not require the state of Ohio to allow same sex marriages to be performed in this state.  It does, however, say that Ohio has to recognize gay marriages performed in other states and give those couples the same rights which other married people have.

There was a marriage equality rally on Fountain Square over the weekend. Judge black's ruling was not a surprise as he had indicated not long ago that he would indeed issue such a decision.

The judge ruled in response to a lawsuit filed by several same sex  couples. Ohio voters passed a gay marriage ban a decade ago. But Judge Black said "unconstitutional laws cannot stand, even when passed by popular vote.  Defendants repeated appeals to the purportedly sacred nature of the will of Ohio's voters is particularly specious".

However, the head of the group which led the campaign to ban gay marriage says Judge Black is an activist liberal judge who is legislating from the bench. "Let me say this about Judge Black. First of all I have talked to lawyers and judges", says Phil Burress. "They've never heard of a judge saying I'm going to rule on something ten days from now. We believe the reason for this is a higher position, maybe an appointment from he Obama administration, maybe the U.S. Supreme Court if a position comes up. This is unheard of that he would tell someone, so we've had ten days of people mentioning Judge Black's name."

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who says he will appeal Judge Black's ruling, also approved ballot language for the exact opposite, a citizen effort to repeal Ohio's gay marriage ban.

DeWine said he was not passing judgment on the repeal effort, only noting that the language was proper and the one-thousand signatures in favor were legitimate. Those behind the effort next have to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures statewide to get the question on the ballot.

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