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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
Oops! Ohio judge accidently recognizes same-sex marriage
Section One
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Oops! Ohio judge accidently recognizes same-sex marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

An Ohio judge approved the divorce of a Lesbian couple on November 25, thereby recognizing the reality of their prior marriage. The only problem is that Ohio is one of four states where bans on same-sex marriage were upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to Athens County Common Pleas Judge George McCarthy, he did not realize the parties were both women, and he is likely to reverse his decision and revoke the divorce decree.

McCarthy told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper that Athens County divorce applications have one column for the husband's name, and another for the wife's. Erin O'Leary was listed in the husband column, and Brenda Mohney, was listed as her wife.

As it turned out, Mohney still lives in Athens, Ohio, and was at the divorce hearing, but O'Leary has moved out of state. McCarthy therefore assumed she was a man and signed the divorce decree.

The judge now says he thinks that Ohio's ban on recognizing same-sex marriage would make his judgment invalid, but will invite both women to a hearing in the next few weeks so that they can explain their reasons for divorcing before he offers his reason for nullifying his previous ruling.

If that happens, Mohney and O'Leary would find themselves married again.

A spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, said that while his office will uphold Ohio law banning same-sex marriage, he does not have a position on same-sex divorces and that each case is decided on a case-by-case basis by the Ohio courts.

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