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Scott Stantis | Chicago Tribune

Furthermore …

Gay marriage steadily gaining

It is safe to say that the drip-drip-drip of occasional rulings that seemed to favor same-sex unions has become a steady stream and soon will be a tsunami. On Monday, a federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize gay marriages on death certificates. The judge, Timothy Black, declared that the state’s ban on such unions is unconstitutional and that states cannot discriminate against same-sex couples simply because some voters don’t like homosexuality.

Although Black’s ruling applies only to death certificates, his statements about Ohio’s gay-marriage ban are sweeping and unequivocal. Ohio’s attorney general said the state will appeal. Of course it will, in a surely doomed effort to beat back the waves.

In his ruling, Black cited the Supreme Court’s June decision striking down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law, saying that the lower courts are now tasked with applying that ruling.

“And the question presented is whether a state can do what the federal government cannot – i.e., discriminate against same-sex couples ... simply because the majority of the voters don’t like homosexuality (or at least didn’t in 2004),” Black said in reference to the year Ohio’s gay marriage ban passed. “Under the Constitution of the United States, the answer is no.”

Black wrote that “once you get married lawfully in one state, another state cannot summarily take your marriage away,” saying the right to remain married is recognized as a fundamental liberty in the U.S. Constitution.

Last week, another federal judge, Robert J. Shelby, held that Utah’s ban, passed by voters in 2004, violates the federal right of gay and lesbian couples to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. “The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” Shelby wrote. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages, up from six before the Supreme Court decision. (Illinois joined the ranks in November.) More states are sure to follow. And those that don’t? They are on the wrong side of history.

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