Same-Sex Marriage FAQs

Here are some of the most common questions we are asked about same-sex marriage and divorce:

Q: Are same-sex marriages legal in Ohio?

A: Yes. While a constitutional amendment and state law passed in 2004 previously banned same-sex marriages in Ohio, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015, that all 50 states must both: (i) issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and (ii) fully recognize same-sex marriages entered into in other states. Read more about the Supreme Court's decision in the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

Q: Is Ohio actually following the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell?

A: Yes. While some states have resisted the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell, within hours of the court's ruling, county courts in Ohio were already issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Q: Does Ohio recognize same-sex marriages from other states?

A: Yes. Ohio has actually recognized same-sex marriages from other states for limited purposes since a federal court ruling in 2013. However, prior to Obergefell v. Hodges, there was still dissension among Ohio counties as to whether or not same-sex couples could file for divorce. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that all states must provide equal treatment to same-sex couples, gay and lesbian couples married here and in other states will have their marriages fully recognized in Ohio.

Q: Does Ohio recognize same-sex civil unions from other states?

A: No. Ohio does not recognize same-sex civil unions. However, gay and lesbian couples in civil unions now have the option of marrying in Ohio or marrying in another state and having their marriage recognized by Ohio.

Q: What are some of the other implications of Obergefell v. Hodges?

A: The Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell has a number of important implications for same-sex couples in Ohio. For example:

  • Previously, same-sex couples in Ohio could file joint federal tax returns, but had to file their state taxes separately. Now, married same-sex partners can file joint state tax returns as well.
  • Through marriage, same-sex partners in Ohio can now avoid severe tax consequences for transfers of property upon death.
  • Gay and lesbian partners who wed can also receive the benefit of state gift tax exemptions that apply to married couples.
  • Hospitals can no longer deny visitation privileges to same-sex spouses.
  • Employers with fully insured medical plans can no longer deny benefits to married same-sex couples based upon religious objections.

Q: I want to end my same-sex marriage. Can I file for divorce in Ohio?

A: Yes. Again thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex spouses have a fundamental right to file for divorce in Ohio. This is a watershed development for same-sex spouses, who previously would have been denied the right to divorce in certain counties. The right to divorce is critical to separating spouses, as it paves the way for establishing support rights and resolving other issues relating to the dissolution of the couple's marriage.

Contact Laubacher & Co. For More Information

If you have additional questions about same-sex marriage in Ohio, the experienced family law attorneys at Laubacher & Co. are here to help. To schedule a free consultation, contact our Cleveland law offices at 440-462-1882, or send us an email today.