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Ohio Judge Refusing Same-Sex Marriage, Despite Supreme Court Ruling

Updated: March 19, 2024
Lauren Davenport
By Lauren Davenport

After graduating from the University of Dayton School of Law, Lauren spent eight years practicing law at a general practice firm in Dayton. Lauren is also a Member of the School Board for Summit Academy Community School and Summit Academy Transition High School in Dayton. Lauren leads the family law practice at Gounaris Abboud, LPA.

Municipal Judge C. Allen McConnell of Toledo, Ohio has refused to acknowledge same-sex couples who come to his court to be married. The judge has cited his own personal religious beliefs for his reasoning behind the refusals, feeling that the United States Supreme Court’s ruling late last month has ignored the rights of religious individuals. He is certainly not alone in his beliefs but he is certainly one of the few municipal judges acting upon them in this way.

When two women came to his court in the beginning of July, they did so to avoid any churches that may have been offended by their wishes to marry. They believed that a municipal judge would have to abide and provide them with the ceremony, as simple as it may be, as the court is not a religious institution and the judge would be performing his duty as described in his occupation. Much to their surprise, Judge McConnell was able to readily turn them down. But how?

Even Judges Can Use Legal Loopholes

Judge C. Allen McConnell has been able to avoid any immediate punishment for his actions due to a gray area in the law. By passing along his responsibility to another municipal judge who will perform the marriage ceremonies, he is not directly or definitively denying them their newfound right to be married. Instead, he is merely adding a delay in the process.

Members of the community and nearly 30 other public officials have voiced their concern over his behavior, however. They fear that his unwillingness to put aside his religious beliefs in this matter could indicate his inability to be impartial in just about any other issue. Whether or not he faces any official punishment, including removal from his elected position, is yet to be determined.

If you are dealing with a family law issue and believe it could be related to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage, you can come to Gounaris Abboud, LPA for assistance. Our Dayton divorce attorneys can use their years of experience and unparalleled knowledge of litigation to get you through even the most difficult of circumstances. Contact us today to get started.

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