By Wayne Allen
Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Probate/Juvenile Division Judge Alan Lemons confirmed that last week his office issued the first same-sex marriage licence in Scioto County.
“We have had one same-sex couple, who has gone through the marriage license process,” Lemons said.
Once a marriage license is obtained from the court, the minister officiating the wedding will fill-in some information and a portion of it will be turned back into the court so the marriage can be recorded. According to court documents obtained by the Daily Times, the documentation to record the wedding was received by the court on Wednesday. The documents indicate the ceremony took place on July 6.
Lemons said he anticipated there to be some same-sex marriage licenses issued by his court. Since the ruling, he said there has only been one.
“I did anticipate we would have more than one by now,” Lemons said. “I was just in a meeting with other Probate Judges in southern Ohio, we had a little bit of a discussion on this issue and a lot of them (probate judges) we saying they only had (issued) one or two (same-sex marriage licenses),” Lemons said.
Lemons said the president of the Probate Judges Association presided over the meeting of the judges that went over all of the changes that has to be made in probate court to accommodate. He said once the Supreme Court made its decision on the issue; they began to change marriage license forms to be gender neutral.
“We manually changed them (marriage license forms) for a few days. For the opposite sex couple that are still going to come through, we will still use up those forms. The new forms will then be gender neutral.”
According to an administrative action of the Ohio Supreme Court dated Jun 26, it details that all references to husband, wife, father, mother, parent, spouse and other terms that express familial relationships, be construed as gender neutral where appropriate to comply with the decision of the United States Supreme Court.
Lemons said there are previsions in Ohio’s adoption statute that are not gender neutral.
“If you look at the adoption statute, the language in the statute for step-parents is already gender neutral. Because that could have been a stepfather or a stepmother adopting,” Lemons said. “If you are adopting as a married couple, the forms and the statute talk about husband and wife, so they are not gender neutral.”
Lemons said there may still be a debate in this issue.
Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Mark Costine of St. Clairsville, Ohio told the Associated Press the Ohio Supreme Court administrative action requires all references in Ohio statutes to create gender-neutral terms in applications and forms.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT