Ohio Couple Drops Lawsuit Over Gay Marriage Ban
A gay married couple in Ohio who had trouble getting family coverage under the federal health care law said Friday they have voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage ban.
Al Cowger Jr. and Tony Wesley Jr. of suburban Cleveland said in the lawsuit filed last month that Ohio’s ban, passed by voters in 2004, was preventing them and their 8-year-old adopted daughter from enrolling in a family policy under President Barack Obama’s health care law.
They sued the state of Ohio and U.S. government after hours-long phone calls and months of trying to get a family plan through the federal insurance marketplace.
Their attorney said Friday the couple obtained a family policy this week after going through the federal website, HealthCare.gov. Their plan takes effect in April.
"I can’t tell you exactly where the hang up was," said Al Gerhardstein, the couple’s attorney. "I think maybe it just needed that spotlight that came from this case and from the inquiries, and then the wheels got greased."
Other lawsuits seeking state recognition of gay marriages on death and birth certificates are pending. An effort also is underway to ask Ohio voters this fall to overturn the ban.
Cowger and Wesley, who have been together for 28 years, married in New York in 2012.
Coverage for the couple and their daughter comes after the Obama administration issued guidance to insurers this month, telling them that if they offer spousal coverage to heterosexual couples, they cannot deny it to legally married same-sex couples. The policy does not become a requirement until next year.