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Widower gets wish to be listed as married to his husband on death certificate

CINCINNATI – A judge on Tuesday ordered officials to honor a widower’s wish to be listed as married to his husband on his death certificate.

This is the second case over the past two months that federal court Judge Timothy Black has ruled in favor of gay couples who were married in states where same-gender marriage is legal.

David Brian Michener of Cincinnati, whose husband unexpectedly died of natural causes about a week ago, on Tuesday asked a federal judge to order the death certificate for William Herbert Ives to accurately reflect that the two men were legally married. Ohio’s constitution bans same-gender marriage, but marriage-rights supporters are trying to reverse the law.

Ives and Michener were married in Delaware on July 22, and have three adopted children. The couple had been together for 18 years.

Another Cincinnati couple – James Obergefell and John Arthur, who were also married in July in Delaware – sued in federal court to have their marriage recognized by the State of Ohio. Arthur is dying of ALS, and the married couple sued the State so Arthur’s death certificate would accurately reflect his marital status and so that Obergefell would be listed as the surviving spouse. The couple also want to be buried next to each other, but Arthur’s family is trying to prevent that.

Judge Black granted a temporary restraining order – but noted that it was specific to Obergefell and Arthur only.