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Lawsuit Filed Against Ohio’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

A lawsuit was filed against the state of Ohio and its ban on gay marriage Wednesday morning by attorney Jennifer Branch, according to WLWT. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. Federal Court.

Ohio has to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states, as ruled by Judge Timothy Black earlier in April.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has appealed the judge’s ruling. The office for DeWine came across the lawsuit this morning. It aims to defeat the same-sex ban that has been in effect in Ohio for 10 years.

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Michelle Gibson was named as the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. Gibson and her partner, Deb Meem, have been together for some 20 years. Both have taught at the University of Cincinnati and are now dealing with serious medial issues.

Gibson is confined to a wheelchair due to MS while Meem is in New Mexico with her mother, who is in hospice.

“We’ve always wanted to do that,” Gibson said in an interview with WLWT. “I’m in a progressive stage (of MS) right now. I didn’t know whether I had the stamina right now to do it. But, then I decided that I did want to do it.”

Mary Kay Koehler and Heather Apple are also involved in the lawsuit. They have two children together.

“We want to be married so that if something dramatic would happen to me or Heather, that we know that the other partner and our girls are taken care of financially as well as being able to stay together as a family unit,” Koehler said.

Apple is employed by General Electric and Koehler is the executive director of the Cincinnati Children’s Choir.

Ethan Fletcher and Andrew Hickam got engaged on New Year’s Eve and are involved in the lawsuit too.

“We want to commit to a marriage ceremony before our family and our friends and we don’t want to have to drive out to Iowa or Illinois to get a marriage license,” Fletcher said.

In response to the views of Ohio residents on gay marriage, Koehler said, “It’s fine for people to have their own views. But, this is my family and it’s really hurtful when we hear those kinds of things because all we’re doing is loving each other and loving our girls as best we can.”

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