Civil-rights attorneys filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a judge to strike down Ohio’s gay-marriage ban as unconstitutional and allow same-sex couples to wed in the state, echoing arguments that have led judges to throw out gay-marriage bans in five other states.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Cincinnati on behalf of six gay Ohio couples who say they are in love and want to get married.
“We are just like any other couple,” said Gary Goodman, who proposed to his longtime partner, Karl Rece Jr., in 2011 and is hoping to marry him on Christmas.
“We love each other dearly. I would die for him,” Goodman said. “We just want the simplest thing: We want to be able to marry here in Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio.”
Like other successful challenges to statewide marriage bans across the country, the attorneys who filed the lawsuit are arguing that Ohio’s ban, passed by voters in 2004, violates the equal protection and due-process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
“A consensus is finally emerging: The Constitution protects the right of consenting adults to love whoever they want,” the lawsuit says. “It is time for Ohio to do the same.”
Lisa Peterson Hackley, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike De- Wine, said in a statement that the office “is prepared to defend the state’s constitution and statutes regarding marriage.”
Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, declined to comment “except to say that the governor believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, and he supports Ohio’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.”
Along with Wednesday’s lawsuit, attorneys are asking federal Judge Michael Barrett to issue a temporary restraining order forcing Ohio to issue marriage licenses to the couples named in the lawsuit, record their marriages and grant them same rights that other married couples in the state have.