History lessons from Sen. Sharer
August 27th, 2013
On the website of Senator William Sharer – New Mexico’s equality opponent in chief – the Farmington Republican shares his views on marriage and history.
Archeology shows the importance of the family unit working together as the first and most basic unit of human cooperation. There is overwhelming evidence that the unit of ‘mom, dad and children’ has been encouraged from the earliest pre-written record. The union between one man and one woman was the first and most lasting definition of marriage.
Alexander the Great’s – View of Marriage
Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) married a Bactrian woman – modern day Afghanistan. Alexander may have engaged in homosexual activity, but he married a woman.
He directed his officers to stop “whoring” around and find a local woman to marry.
“It is only through blood relations that hatred and war will end”. In other words, Alexander the Great thought that marriage was about creating and raising the next generation.
This is the reason for Marriage –
The creation and raising of children who have the best chance to grow to be peaceful, responsible citizens.
Well… not exactly. Actually Alexander didn’t “marry a woman”. He married three, Roxana (the Bactrian woman he references), Stateira (daughter of Darius III) and Parysatis (daughter of Artaxerxes III). And though he did father a child, it wasn’t born until after Alexander’s death.
Using Sharer’s example of Alexander, perhaps we can deduce that he really meant to say that “There is overwhelming evidence that the unit of ‘mom, dad, fetus, and dad’s two other wives’ has been encouraged from the earliest pre-written record.”
How do truly stupid people get elected?
San Miguel and Valencia Counties make five
August 27th, 2013
Marriage is breaking out all over New Mexico (kob.com)
Following the actions of three other counties in the state, the Valencia and San Miguel County clerks have decided to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Rivera confirmed she ordered new licenses from the printer, but said she is now issuing “Spouse and Spouse” licenses that have been manually altered starting on Tuesday.
According to Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal, paper stock for the licenses have already been ordered. They plan to change software to print “Spouse and Spouse” instead of “Bride and Groom” as soon as the paper arrives tomorrow morning.
As best I can find, Sen. William Sharer (R – Farmington) has not yet filed his lawsuit to stop the progression of equality in the state. Maybe he’s so busy amending the filing to add new counties that he hasn’t time to get it to court.
But he’d best get his hurry-up boots on if he plans on doing so while he still has a chance; once a movement reaches certain momentum it can be hard to stop.
New Mexico counties grow to three
August 26th, 2013
The number of New Mexico counties offering marriage equality has grown to three. (Star Tribune)
An Albuquerque judge on Monday ordered the clerk of New Mexico’s most populous county to join two other counties in the state in issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples.
State District Judge Alan Malott ruled that New Mexico’s constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
(The ruling covered both Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County, home of Albuquerque. However Santa Fe has been complying with a separate judicial ruling requiring equality since Friday).
Predictably, Sen. Bill Sharer, who is leading a group of GOP lawmakers to fight the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was furious. (koat)
“It is up the New Mexico State Legislature, with the consent of the Governor of New Mexico, to make laws and for county clerks and district court judges to abide by them. They do not make the laws. It is inexplicable how a district court just today discovered a new definition of marriage in our laws, when our marriage law has not been changed in over a century,” Sharer said in a statement.
But there’s more than a little irony in Sharer’s statement. Despite what he pretends, the New Mexico State Legislature has no law requiring that clerks discriminate against same-sex couples. There is no “new definition”. The marriage law in New Mexico is not defined to require a man and a woman.
It is true that until fairly recently no one in New Mexico fathomed same-sex couples marrying. But what do you do when an unexpected situation seeks to avail itself of civil law?
Sharer seems to hold an opinion about the role of government that flies in the face of his party’s rhetoric. While most Republicans would claim to believe that freedom is held by the people and that if ‘there ain’t no law against it’ then citizens are free to pursue happiness as they wish. Sharer, on the other hand, seems to believe that the government holds all rights and doles out freedoms according to its whim. He seems to be claiming that unless he and his fellow legislators specifically say you can do something, then it’s against the law.
UPDATE: Doña Ana, Sante Fe, and Bernalillo Counties are the states three most populated. Between them, nearly half of the state’s residents live in a county in which equality is being honored.
Political media discovers that John Bolton supports equality
August 24th, 2013
You may recall John Bolton from his stint as ambassador to the United Nations in 2005 and 2006. You might know him from his op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal. But you probably best know him as that guy with the mustache.
Bolton is an unquestionable conservative, a national security hawk, a Republican that could never be called a RINO (“Republican in name only”), and a darling of a large faction on the right. He may also be a candidate for nomination of the Republican Party in 2016.
And if you are a regular Turtler, you may recall that we have known for some time that John Bolton supports marriage equality. But many of those who watch him on Fox News – and most of those who would never watch Fox News – probably do not.
They are now discovering this to be so. (Daily Beast)
However, in an interview with Robert Costa of National Review, Bolton let slip a surprising bit of information; he’s for gay marriage. He said “On gay marriage, I support it, at both the state level and the federal level. Gay marriage is something I’ve thought about at length as I’ve looked at my future. I concluded, a couple years ago, that I think it should be permissible and treated the same at both levels.”
This is of value to our community. The more that run of the mill Republicans and conservatives hear of prominent leaders in their community who endorse equality, the easier it will be for them to do so.
And it will be interesting if Bolton runs. Undoubtedly one candidate or another will make marriage part of the campaign, and his views during debates will challenge presumptions in the room.
NM judge orders Santa Fe to issue same sex marriage licenses
August 23rd, 2013
District Judge Sarah Singleton issued the order late Thursday to Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar in a lawsuit filed by two Santa Fe men. It represents the first time a New Mexico judge has ruled that gay and lesbian couples can be married, said state Rep. Brian Egolf, a lawyer representing the couple.
Singleton said Salazar must grant the marriage licenses or appear in court Sept. 26 to tell her why that shouldn’t occur. Salazar didn’t immediately return a telephone call from The Associated Press.
Should Salazar comply, Santa Fe County will join Doña Ana County, where the County Clerk yesterday began issuing licenses to same sex couples.
PA’s court considerations
August 22nd, 2013
The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has issued the list of issues which it will consider in relation to the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses. (Observer-Reporter)
The court wants lawyers to focus on whether the court has jurisdiction, given that Hanes is a judicial officer.
Other questions are whether issuing marriage licenses are a judicial act and whether the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s marriage law can be raised as a defense in the case.
Also at issue are whether the Department of Health has standing to sue, and if not, the effect of Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s delegation of defense of the law to Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s legal staff.
Hawaii may have special session on marriage
August 20th, 2013
Hawaii has a unique and peculiar relationship with its gay citizens. First to offer any form of recognition in 1991, it was also the first state to change its constitution to allow the legislature to deny equality (later constitutional amendments in other states banned equality outright, rather than authorize their legislature to do so). The end result was a completely useless reciprocal benefits provision that virtually no couples utilized.
For several years there were attempts to provide a more equal status for same-sex couples, but it was not until 2010 that a civil unions bill passed the legislature. It was vetoed by Governor Linda Lingle (R).
In January 2011, the state began again the civil unions process and Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) signed the bill into law.
Earlier this year, a marriage bill was introduced, but it did not progress to a vote.
Hawaii is unusual in that anti-gay Republicans play little role in blocking marriage equality. There are 44 Democrats and 7 Republicans in the state House of Representatives and 24 Democrats and only one Republican in the Senate. Thus politics in the state are less driven by party and more by where a politician fits in the spectrum of the Democratic Party. Hawaii has many Democrats who oppose marriage equality and many who support it; the question is whether there are enough supporters. (WaPo)
Hawaii state House Democrats will meet this week to gauge whether they can come up with the votes to pass a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
If there is sufficient support, and if legislative leaders can agree on language that would withstand court challenges, Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) will call a special session to deal with the issue this fall. Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he thinks it’s “very likely” there will be a special session.
“I think we can put together something that can achieve a solid majority, that will give us the opportunity to establish marriage equity in the state of Hawaii commensurate with the recent Supreme Court decisions, and will satisfy and resolve the issues that are presently before the appeals court on the mainland,” Abercrombie told a gathering of state Democrats.
A coalition of religious leaders have endorsed Abercrombie’s goal. (AP)
More than two dozen Hawaii faith leaders of various religions signed a resolution Monday calling the state to pass a law legalizing gay marriage.
Jewish, Unitarian, Methodist and other leaders read and signed the poster-sized declaration at an interfaith brunch at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu.
“It’s all about standing on the right side of history,” said Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kupono Kwong of the First Unitarian Church.
Republicans around the country are seeing the political shift on this issue and (sometimes comically) changing their language and position. Let’s hope that socially conservative Democrats in Hawaii will likewise see the writing on the wall and recognize that there is no future in their party for those who seek to use the power of their position to impose or uphold discrimination.
Do Brethren marry?
August 20th, 2013
There is an article on centredaily.com about the mayor of State College, Pennsylvania, hosting same sex marriages for licenses issued by Montgomery County clerk Bruce Hanes. It’s a nice piece, but I did a double-take when I read the following:
The couple, from Bushkill, Pike County, were married Monday morning at the home of State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham. They received a marriage license in Montgomery County on Thursday and immediately made arrangements for the ceremony.
Davis and Scalzo were married by the Rev. Ken Kline Smeltzer, from a local Church of the Brethren.
This caught me by surprise. It was not my impression that ministers with the Church of the Brethren could officiate at same-sex marriages.
The Church of the Brethren is one of the three historic pacifist churches (Quakers and Mennonites being the other two). There are about 1,000 churches with about a quarter of a million congregants, mostly in Pennsylvania and the Virginias. They believe in simplicity in worship and life, service to others, sole adherence to the New Testament, and originate from an evangelical tradition.
They also are non-hierarchal and believe in a “priesthood of all believers”. Yet even though congregations tend to be autonomous, this is a rather aggressive step outside the proclaimed shared doctrine. It will be interesting to see if Rev. Smelter’s decision is accepted as a matter of “unity in diversity” or whether some within the denomination will seek to restrain the officiation at same-sex marriages.
August 19th, 2013
In April, the New Zealand Parliament passed marriage equality. Today it came into effect.
Congratulations, Kiwis, and here’s to the joy that you and your nation are celebrating.
Meet your new favorite ally advocate
August 14th, 2013
This is the 90 year old grandmother of a gay man, both living in the People’s Republic of China. She’s asking the government to support marriage equality.
Pennsylvania marriages to continue for a while
August 7th, 2013
The Court has set August 12th as the deadline for the administration to filea brief in support of its suit, and the following Monday August 19th is the date by which the county must file its brief in response.
After briefs are filed, the court says it will schedule arguments on an expedited basis. A court spokesman says a judge will be assigned to the case after the briefs are filed, as well.
Taiwanese transgender couple’s marriage allowed
August 7th, 2013
Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu both transitioned from male to female last July, but Ji-yi did not report her transition until this year. In the meantime, in October, they married.
In a surprise decision that shocked even the couple themselves, the Taiwanese government has decided not to revoke a marriage between two trans women.
After a marathon meeting with colleagues from justice and welfare ministries and other experts, the Interior Ministry announced today (7 Aug) that the marriage license of Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu should remain valid.
It said the Wus were indeed ‘a man and a woman’ in accordance with civil law when the registration took place. The government respects people’s right to change their gender, it added.
PA Health Dept. sues to stop marriage licenses in Montgomery County
July 30th, 2013
The state Health Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Commonwealth Court against D. Bruce Hanes. He oversees the granting of marriage licenses in Montgomery County, just outside Philadelphia.
The lawsuit asks the court to prevent Hanes from giving them to gay couples because it violates state law.
So it appears that Governor Tom Corbett (R) has finally decided to act… and to do so in a way as far removed from himself as possible.
While it is sad to see a challenge, it is a necessary part of the process. Until a court hears the case, there is no certainty for those couples who have married using the licenses issued by Montgomery County.
It will be interesting to see the mechanics of the lawsuit. The Attorney General will not be representing the Health Department (as would usually be the case) and while I suppose that the Health Department has inhouse counsel, I don’t know if it has a great deal of trial experience. Perhaps the Governor’s office will get involved, but so far he’s done his best to pretend as if nothing unusual is happening.
NSW Committee may have cleared the state for marriage
July 26th, 2013
Australia has long been restricted from achieving marriage equality by the understanding that marriage was the within the purview of the federal government. And a circus of politics, positions, postures, and pretences have conspired to keep the nation from enacting a policy that has popular support.
But now the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues in New South Wales, Australia, has determined that the state can pass its own marriage laws – though no one is certain that their determination will hold. (GayNewsNetwork)
The Committee found that while NSW can legislate on same-sex marriage, any laws would be subject to challenge by the High Court and thus marriage equality would be best pursued in Commonwealth legislation.
The Hon Niall Blair, MLC, Chair of the Social Issues Committee said: “This report seeks to clarify the law, including in particular the question as to whether New South Wales can legislate on the topic of same-sex marriage; there is no doubt that it can. But whether the law would stand up to a challenge in the High Court is unpredictable and something that even leading experts in constitutional law disagree about.”
However, there may be sufficient political will to pass the legislation and call the federal government’s bluff. Leaders of all the political parties have expressed support for the position.
Who will oppose Montgomery County marriages? UPDATED
July 26th, 2013
There is debate about whether the decision by Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Clerk Bruce Hanes to issues marriage licenses to same sex couples is civil disobedience or lawlessness and no one know whether they are truly legal or not, but one question seems to me to be even more confusing: who will oppose him?
When I first heard the news I assumed that the Republican elected officials would step in to halt proceedings. But, so far, that doesn’t appear to be happening and even the expected fiery denunciations appear to be limited to a few fringe legislators.
The County’s district attorney decided that opposing Hanes didn’t fall within her job description: (PhillyMag.com)
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman, a Republican, said Wednesday evening that a same-sex marriage license wasn’t legally valid under existing Pennsylvania law but “the remedy for issuing an invalid marriage license does not include intervention by the office of the district attorney.”
“The register of wills cannot change the laws of this commonwealth by simply ignoring them,” Ferman said in a statement. “If that change comes, it will be through Pennsylvania courts or the Legislature.”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Katheen Kane, a Democrat, has stated that she will not defend the state’s anti-gay marriage law as she believes it is unconstitutional. And Republican Governor Tom Corbett has, so far, limited his response to a statement from his press officer:
Individual elected officials cannot pick and choose which laws to enforce. All officials are constitutionally required to administer and enforce the laws that are enacted by the Legislature. Only the courts have the power to declare a law to be unconstitutional and to suspend its effects.
But other than tsk-tsking, I can find no evident steps being taken to halt the marriages by those who are empowered to do so. I assume at some point Corbett will make some legal effort or some “family” group will seek to intervene. But I am fairly shocked that marriage licenses have been issued this long without the fierce and angry response that would have been the automatic reaction not so very long ago.
Joining those who say that Mr. Hanes should not be issuing same-sex marriage licenses is the Registers of Wills and Clerks of Orphans’ Court Association, which has voted unanimously that they will not follow Hanes’ lead. (Patriot News)
Larry Medaglia, the Berks County Register of Wills, who authored the resolution, said all the members present at conference agreed they would not issue licenses to gay or lesbian couples.
“The only way that is going to change given the resolution and the sentiment in the room and all the discussion is if the Legislature and the governor enact a different law or if the courts should overturn it and mandate a change,” said Medaglia, a former president of the association. “We don’t have the authority to do what Bruce Hanes is doing in Montgomery County. Frankly he doesn’t have the authority to do it.”
Behaving exactly how one would imagine an association of county clerks to behave, the issue of whether same-sex marriage should be legal didn’t arise.
But irrespective of the resolution, they have no authority over Hanes or his decision and will take no steps to compel him to stop.
Oregon starts petition drive to reverse state DOMA
July 26th, 2013
Oregon United for Marriage (yeah, yours too) hit the streets and parks today to begin the petition drive to put marriage back on the ballot next fall. (Oregon Live)
The campaign to overturn Oregon’s constitutional ban on gay marriage hits streets Friday, with organizers on a quest to gather more than 116,000 signatures by July 2014.
As early as 6 a.m., dozens of volunteers were gathering signatures at a petition booth at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland. The booth is one of several being manned by more than 1,000 volunteers in cities and towns throughout the state this weekend.
Judge grants injunctive relief to Ohio married couple
July 22nd, 2013
John Arthur and Jim Obergefell married last week in Maryland. It is a marriage that is doomed to be short, as Arthur has ALS and is not expected to live much longer.
Upon returning, they sued in Federal Court to have Ohio, their home state, recognize their marriage. In 2004, voters amended the Ohio Constitution to limit recognition of marriage to opposite-sex couples.
Today Federal Judge Timothy S. Black ordered that the State of Ohio recognize the marriage and list the couple as married on Arthur’s death certificate.
This Court finds that Plaintiffs have established by clear and convincing evidence their entitlement to injunctive relief. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order (Doc. 3) is GRANTED, and a temporary restraining order shall issue by separate order, directing, inter alia, that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur whichdoes not record his status as “married” and/or does not record James Obergefell as Mr.Arthur’s “surviving spouse” at the time of Mr. Obergefell’s death, which is imminent.
Ohio recognizes heterosexual marriages in other states that it would not allow to be conducted within its borders (first cousins, for example) provided that the marriage was legal where conducted. While this order is not a ruling on the merits of the case, it seems a foregone conclusion that Judge Black will find for Arthur and Obergefell when this case is determined.
Federal Judge Orders Ohio Officials To Recognize Gay Couple’s Marriage
July 22nd, 2013
In as stunningly swift development, a Federal Judge has issued a temporary restraining order requiring Ohio state officials to recongize the marriage of John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, who were married two weeks ago in Maryland. Federal District Judge Timothy Black ordered Ohio officials to recognize the Cincinnati couple’s out-of-state marriage just as they recognizing marriges performed in other states even when those marriages cannot be performed in Ohio:
Throughout Ohio’s history, Ohio law has been clear: a marriage solemnized outside of Ohio is valid in Ohio if it is valid where solemnized. Thus, for example,under Ohio law, out-of-state marriages between first cousins are recognized by Ohio,even though Ohio law does not authorize marriages between first cousins. Likewise,under Ohio law, out of state marriages of minors are recognized by Ohio, even thoughOhio law does not authorize marriages of minors.
How then can Ohio, especially given the historical status of Ohio law, single outsame sex marriages as ones it will not recognize? The short answer is that Ohio cannot … at least not under the circumstances here.
By treating lawful same sex marriages differently than it treats lawful opposite sexmarriages (e.g., marriages of first cousins and marriages of minors), Ohio law, as applied to these Plaintiffs, likely violates the United States Constitution which guarantees that”No State shall make or enforce any law which shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.
The end result here and now is that the local Ohio Registrar of death certificates is hereby ORDERED not to accept for recording a death certificate for John Arthur that does not record Mr. Arthur’s status at death as ‘married’ and James Obergefell as his ‘surviving spouse,’”
Judge Black noted that when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, it left in place Section 2, which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, but:
…the issue whether States canrefuse to recognize out-of-state same sex marriages is now surely headed to the fore.Indeed, just as Justice Scalia predicted in his animated dissent, by virtue of the presentlawsuit, “the state-law shoe” has now dropped in Ohio.
John Arthur is bedridden with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a progressive neurological disease which robs patients with the ability to walk, move, and eventually breath. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Arthur and Obergefell, partners of 20 years, used donations from friends and relatives to charter a special medical transport plane and fly to Maryland two weeks ago, accompanied by a nurse, two pilots trained in emergency medicine, and Arthur’s aunt, who had been ordained specifically to perform the wedding. They married on the tarmac at an airport in Baltimore and immediately returned to their home in Cincinnati. Last Friday, the couple filed a lawsuit in Cincinnati Federal District Court demanding that the State of Ohio recognize their marriage.
Judge Black limited the order to Arthur and Obergefell only, citing the plaintiff’s “strong likelihood of success on the merits” and Arthur’s declining health for the urgency of his order:
…In addition to the alleged denial of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights, the Court must also consider the fact that Mr. Arthur is in hospice care and death is imminent. Without a temporary restraining order, the official record of Mr. Arthur’s death, and the last official document recording his existence on earth, will incorrectly classify him as unmarried, despite his legal marriage to Mr. Obergefell. The death certificate will also incorrectly fail to record Mr. Obergefell as the “surviving spouse,” which status he lawfully enjoys. Furthermore, Mr. Arthur wants to be buried in his family plot at Spring Grove Cemetery. He also wants Mr. Obergefell to be buried next to him someday. The family plot directive limits those who may be interred in the plot to descendants and married spouses. Thus, without a temporary restraining order, Mr. Arthur’s burial may be delayed or his remains may have to be exhumed when this case is finally decided.
…Moreover, there is absolutely no evidence that the State of Ohio or its citizens will be harmed by the issuance of an order temporarily restraining the enforcement of these provisions against the Plaintiffs in this case. No one beyond Plaintiffs themselves will beaffected by such a limited order at all. Without an injunction, however, the harm toPlaintiffs is severe.
Churches in Minnesota get ready for same-sex marriages
July 22nd, 2013
The concept of conducting a same-sex marriage may not seem to be tough; you just do what you would do with an opposite-sex couple. But in practice, there are some differences that require pastors to adjust.
From the Austin (Minnesota) Daily Herald:
At Edina Morningside Community Church, a United Church of Christ congregation, Pastor Rosemary Rocha will be performing her first same-sex marriage at the church next month. When talking to the two men who want to be married by her, Rocha says she asked them, “Do I pronounce you husband and husband? … I think we’re looking at I’m to pronounce them ‘married.’?”
“I’ve been learning along the way,” Rocha added. “Because we don’t have a big population of LGBT people in our church, it’s important for me to educate and familiarize myself with some of the issues. You can’t just go assuming … there are some things that might be the same for same-gender and male-female weddings. But what does it mean for a gay couple … who have been in love, cared about people, and been denied this? ”
Ohio Couple Challenges State’s Marriage Equality Ban in Federal Court
July 22nd, 2013
Last week, John Arthur and Jim Obergefell, partners of 20 years, flew from Cincinnati to Maryland to get married. A trip like that to get married is already complicated enough, but Arthur is in a hospice, suffering from ALS, or Lou Gejrig’s, a neurological disease which, over time, robs patients of their ability to walk, move, talk, and eventually breathe. Aurthur needs around-the-clock care, and a commercial flight was out of the question. After the call went out, friends, family, and total strangers donated aver $12,000 to charter a private plane. They flew to Baltimore, the pilots parked off the runway, and the couple was married on the tarmac. A few minutes later, the couple celebrated with champagne, the pilots climbed back in the cockpit, and the wedding party was back in the sky on the return trip to Ohio.
The Cincinnati Enquirer published a well researched, in-depth story on the couple shortly after they married, illustrating the problems they face in a state which relegates them to legal strangers to each other. Last Friday, Arthur and Obergefell filed suit in Federal Court seeking Ohio’s recognition of their legal marriage. Their attorney, civil rights lawyer Alphonse Gerhardstein, noted some of the absurdities of Ohio’s marriage law:
“(T)he marriages of opposite-sex couples that are legal in other states but would not be allowed in Ohio – e.g., marriages of first cousins or a young partner – are routinely accepted in Ohio if those marriages are legal in the state where they are celebrated,” the suit notes.
The suit seeks a temporary restraining order and injunction, hoping to allow Arthur’s death certificate to reflect that his status at death was “married.” That is more important now, the suit notes, because Arthur is gravely ill.
“It is the final record of a citizen’s life. It must be accurate,” Obergefell said of the death certificate.