Bishop supports marriage equality case
Bishop Breidenthal files amici curiae brief in support of Ohio marriage equality case
Because we believe that all children of God deserve the same rights and protections under the law, the Diocese of Southern Ohio and the Right Reverend Thomas E. Breidenthal, along with many other bishops from Episcopal dioceses throughout the country, have filed amici curiae briefs in support of the marriage equality case of Obergefell v. Kasich currently pending in the Sixth Circuit court.
The case involves Jim Obergefell, partnered for more than twenty years with John Arthur, who became terminally ill with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Obergefell and Arthur needed to be legally married and Obergefill listed as surviving spouse on the death certificate in order to be buried together in Arthur’s family plot. The couple chartered a private medical jet and flew from Cincinnati to Baltimore, Maryland, in order to be legally married. Owing to the fact that Arthur was too ill to even leave the plane, they were married in the plane on the runway. Arthur died while the suit was pending. Obergefell ultimately won a permanent injunction ordering the State of Ohio to list him on Arthur’s death certificate as the surviving spouse even though the state does not currently recognize same-sex marriage, which Governor John Kasich is now appealing.
The Diocese of Southern Ohio was one of the first Episcopal dioceses to create an approved blessing for same-sex unions. Like the Episcopal Church as a whole, it places great emphasis on the ritual observance of the life cycle, and its rites relating to dying and death are justly known for their theological depth and pastoral sensitivity.
Bishop Breidenthal is the Ninth Bishop of Southern Ohio, elected in 2006. He has written extensively about faith, including the issues raised by same-sex unions. Episcopal clergy are given significant training in grief counseling and funeral preparation, and it is expected that they will perform those offices with proficiency and care, with particular attention being paid to supporting family members of the deceased with no distinction being made between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages.