Ohio’s landmark ruling on same-sex domestic abuse
Domestic violence laws in the US state of Ohio do not conflict with its same-sex marriage ban, the state Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
The judges rejected the argument that domestic violence law was unenforceable in cases not involving married couples, because the law refers to ‘spouses.’
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer said that lawmakers included several groups under the domestic violence law, and that defining living arrangements was not the same as creating a law defining marriage.
“The state does not create cohabitation; rather it is a person’s determination to share some of life’s responsibilities with another that creates cohabitation,” Moyer wrote, according to AP.
“The state does not have a role in creating cohabitation, but it does have a role in creating a marriage.”
The decision was sparked after a man was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, who he lived with, under the domestic violence law.
Lawyers argued that the man could not be charged because under the ban on same-sex marriage, the state can not assign legal status to unmarried couples.
Twenty-seven US states currently define marriage as between a man and a woman only.
Ohio’s definition is particularly broad as it denies same-sex and unmarried couples any legal status.