EATON —Preble County Probate Judge Jennifer Overmyer says Preble County has issued their first same sex marriage license after the Supreme Court ruling on June 26 required all states within the United States to recognize same sex marriages.
The official document handed out by the Supreme Court of Ohio reads, “All references to husband, wife, father, mother, parents, spouse, and other terms that express familial relationships contained in the rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio and related forms and the Uniform Domestic Relations Forms of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure be construed as gender neutral where appropriate to comply with the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Overgefell v Hodges rendered on June, 26, 2015.”
For Overmyer and other probate judges, she believes it will be business as usual but knows it will require some work to get all the paperwork in line. “It’s going to mean quite a bit of revamping of so many documents and forms that are not gender neutral, they are gender specific and no one meant anything by that, I don’t think, just a lot of things will need to be changed. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface on that yet,” she said.
Overmyer hopes that people will show patience while the court continues to revamp forms and documents to be gender neutral, as the process can be time consuming.
Overmyer said she chose to have application documents changed a few weeks before the ruling to help speed the process up as she was expecting a change in the law.
Marriage applications at the Preble County Courthouse now read “applicant one” and “applicant two,” allowing same sex couples to apply for marriages the same as anyone else in the county.
Overmyer says her job is to follow the ruling of the Supreme Court.
“My thought as Probate Judge is we have to follow the law,” she said. “There a lot of things in the law none of us like and I’m not saying I like or don’t like this law, but I’m charged with following the law. If it’s unconstitutional it’s unconstitutional.”
Overmyer says there have been other couples express interest, but have not followed through with applying for a marriage license as of yet.
Beyond marriage licenses, Overmyer explained many other ways the ruling can have an impact on same sex couples. Those include pension benefits, health insurance, death benefits, divorces, and adoption. “That was the basis of the case as an equal protection argument,” Overmyer said. ”You can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation just like you can’t discriminate on the basis of race and religion and all the other protected classes. I think it’s just a finding that says ‘yes, same sex couple couples should be protected and receive the same benefits as everyone else’.”