CINCINNATI (FOX19/AP) - A federal judge says he will strike down Ohio's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, meaning the state must recognize marriages of gay couples who legally wed elsewhere.
Judge Timothy Black made the statement Friday following final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the marriage ban.
He says he'll issue the ruling April 14 prohibiting Ohio officials from enforcing the ban, which he says violates constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. Black's ruling will not mean Ohio has to allow couples to marry in the state.
Attorneys for the state had argued that it's Ohio's sole province to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Brittany Henry and Brittni Rogers were married in New York City just a couple months ago. Friday's news came as a relief.
"This is my son that she's carrying and I don't want to feel like a stepparent," said Rogers.
"We want both of us to be legally documented on his birth certificate so that he can be properly taken care of," adds Henry.
Lead counsel, Al Gerhardstein says plaintiffs in this particular case include three lesbian couples, but he says there's plenty more across Ohio that this could affect.
"They are just waiting for a day like this when Ohio looks at them and says okay you're married here too," said Gerhardstein.
But Phil Burress with Citizens for Community Values says this is not final.
"Judge Black is not the final decision on this, he will be reversed. The people don't want same sex marriage, the people believe that natural marriage is between one man and one woman. The people didn't go to the polls and vote against same sex marriage, they went to the polls and voted for natural marriage, they want to defend the institution of marriage," said Burress.
By announcing his intention ahead of his ruling, Black gives time for the state to prepare an appeal that can be filed as soon as he rules.