Order allows Ohio to recognize same-sex couple

A U.S. District Court magistrate judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday afternoon that allows state officials to recognize a marriage between two men, one of whom is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Magistrate Judge Timothy Black’s order is specific to John Arthur and James Obergefell only. According to media reports, Obergefell wouldn’t be able to be buried with Arthur at Spring Grove Cemetery without the order.

Arthur’s family plots are in that cemetery and his grandfather had stipulated in documents that only the family’s direct descendants and their spouses can be buried in the family plot.

The district court is based in Cincinnati. With Black’s ruling, Obergefell can be buried next to Arthur.

Arthur has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Obergefell told the judge Monday that Arthur doesn’t have long to live.

On Friday, the Cincinnati men, both 47, sued Gov. John Kasich, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Cincinnati doctor responsible for approving death certificates.

Obergefell and Arthur asked a judge to overturn existing Ohio law - which doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage - to allow Obergefell to be listed as surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate and for it to show that Arthur’s marital status at death as married.

The couple flew to Maryland on July 11 and was married on an airport tarmac before immediately flying back to Cincinnati. Maryland recognizes gay marriages.

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