Judge's Ruling Doesn't End Gay Marriage Debate In Ohio

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UPDATED: Monday April 14, 2014 5:27 PM

Supporters hailed a ruling by a federal judge Monday, which orders Ohio to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states, while Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine vows to keep fighting it.

"It's great," said Rick Neal.  "We had to make a decision when we were adopting our daughters on who is going to be the legal parent.  I've been taking care of her since she was born."

Rick Neal and his husband Tom Grote were married in Massachusetts and have two adopted children.

But because of Ohio's ban on gay marriage, only Grote's name is listed on their birth certificates.

In his ruling, federal Judge Timothy Black wrote that "Ohio's marriage recognition bans are facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances."

His decision is based on four Cincinnati gay couples who filed a lawsuit in February.

The ruling does not require Ohio to authorize same sex marriage.

Attorney Carol Fey says there is growing legal momentum to support gay marriage.

"I think there are enough of these cases nationwide:  all of them have gone the exact way Judge Black's decision went," said Fey.

But that's not the way opponents see it.

"States have a right to decide the basis of marriage," Attorney General Mike DeWine told 10TV.  "For the federal courts now to jump in and make that decision, I think it will frankly cause people to have less confidence in our whole political system."

DeWine says the state will fight Black's ruling because Ohio voters have already spoken against gay marriage and until that vote is overturned, he'll enforce current law.

“My personal position is irrelevant to my obligation as the Attorney General of the state,” said DeWine.  “This issue is fundamentally different than it was five years ago.  Certainly very different than it was ten years ago, that is simply a fact.  But it doesn’t alter my job to do what I took an oath to do.”

Supporters of gay marriage in Ohio say they're ready to place the issue on the ballot, if the courts don't settle it first.

"2016 makes a lot of sense, given not only who comes out to vote, but how many voters come out to vote," said Elyzabeth Holford, Executive Director of Equality Ohio.

Neal says it doesn't matter if the issue is resolved by vote or through the courts.

"We just want to take care of our kids," said Neal.  "I hope people are listening more now."

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