Domestic Violence

Domestic violence dispute widens

A county prosecutor is appealing a judge's ruling that unmarried people cannot be prosecuted for domestic violence because of a new law banning gay marriage.

Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson ruled that a constitutional amendment approved by voters in November prohibits the extension of domestic violence laws to unmarried couples. Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel has appealed the ruling, which was issued in a case against a man charged with beating someone to whom he was not married.

The amendment passed by Ohio voters defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It bans legal status such as civil unions to unmarried people. But judges have differed in their interpretation of how that applies to domestic violence charges.