Ohio Marriages Illegal?

Ohio passed one of the most draconian "defense" of marriage amendments in the country.  Some of the results are overturning domestic violence charges against unmarried defendants.  My contention is that one of the unintended consequences of this law is to invalidate all marriage licenses issued since the amendment went into effect.  Why would I think that?  Follow me below the fold.

The amendment clearly states that a marriage is to be between a man and a woman.  There is no instrumentality to verify that the state is only granting licenses on that basis.  No tests to prove gender are mandated, yet litigation in other states with this type of law has shown that marriages can be invalidated if one or the other of the parties has had a sex change operation.
I would like to know if any legal eagles here might know if my contention might prove correct and if so, who would have standing to file suit.  Just a thought at Christmas time.

Tags: marriage, Ohio (all tags)


1 Comment

Re: Ohio Marriages Illegal?

I don't see how that could follow.  I assume you're talking about the 2004 amendment, section 15.11, which states:

Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.

(Mandatory disclaimer: IANAL, but I hope to be soon, and I also hope that I did well on my Administrative Law final...)

That out of the way, my understanding is that for any marriages to be invalidated, i.e. for action by the state agency to be invalidated, either the state would have to challenge the action (highly unlikely), or a third party would have to sue.  For each marriage to be invalidated, that person would have to allege personal injury of some legally recognized interest resulting from the approval of the marriages.  As unlikely as that is, it's even more unlikely because I expect a court would refuse to entertain such a claim in the absence of some allegation that the absence of such a gender test has led to the issuance of a marriage license to a same-sex couple.  And in any hypothetical I can imagine, the only parties who could allege legally recognized harm from that action would be the parties to the marriage license themselves.

That said, I would be very interested to hear arguments to the contrary...

P.S. - I'm relatively new to blog posting--how could I add formatting to this, such as emphasis, italics, quote boxes, etc?  I majored in CS, so the explanation doesn't have to be too simplified; I just don't know what systems are used on these sites.

by geoffw 2006-12-22 01:06PM | 0 recs


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