Federal judge to hear Ohio gay marriage fight
Written by AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 07:10

CINCINNATI (AP) — Both sides of a fight over whether gay marriage should be recognized on Ohio death certificates despite a statewide constitutional ban were set to argue their cases in front of a federal judge in Cincinnati.

On one side are the two gay Ohio men who successfully got Judge Timothy Black to order their recently deceased spouses to be listed as married on their death certificates. They want that right afforded to all same-sex couples in Ohio who, like them, married in other states that allow gay marriage.

"This case is about love surviving death," their attorney, Al Gerhardstein, wrote in court documents. "The last record of a person's life on Earth should accurately state if the decedent is married and accurately name the surviving spouse."

Gerhardstein will ask Black to declare that Ohio's ban on gay marriage is a violation of constitutional rights and order funeral homes and coroners to document the marriages of gay couples on death certificates.

Ohio woman pleads guilty in hit-and-run death
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 08:57

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A driver has pleaded guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge in a crash that killed a central Ohio teacher who was riding a bicycle.

Thirty-six-year-old Mary Kathryn Paul also pleaded guilty Monday in a Delaware County court with failing to stop after an accident.

The charges against the Westerville woman stemmed from the death of Bob Lennon, a popular teacher and running coach at St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus.

Court denies negligence in Ohio elevator death
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:15

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The wife of a man crushed to death by an elevator in a closed hotel near Ohio State University's campus won't receive state compensation after Ohio's Court of Claims denied her negligence claim.

Authorities said 52-year-old James Higgins of London was pinned by a moving elevator in the elevator shaft in April 2009. Nadia Higgins originally sued her husband's employer, Oracle Elevator Co., and Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment claiming negligence. The state was later named as a third defendant.

The university said Higgins and another worker were working on the elevators in preparation for the hotel's conversion to a dormitory.

The court ruling last week found no evidence that Higgins was required or directed to enter the elevator pit.

Nadia Higgins' attorney didn't immediately return a call Monday.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Two Ohio women held captive have book deal
Written by HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer   
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:17

NEW YORK (AP) — Two of the three Ohio women held captive for years in a Cleveland house have a book deal.

Viking announced Monday that it has acquired the planned book by Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. The book is currently untitled and is scheduled to come out in 2015.

Berry and DeJesus are working with Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporters Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan. Negotiations were handled by Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose clients have ranged from President Barack Obama to Amanda Knox.

Berry, DeJesus and Michelle Knight were rescued in May and their kidnapper, Ariel Castro, was arrested and eventually sentenced to life in prison. He was found hanged in his cell in September.

Knight is working on her own memoir, which Weinstein Books plans to publish next spring.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Medicaid backers abandon petition effort in Ohio
Written by ANN SANNER, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 17 December 2013 07:14

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Supporters of extending Medicaid in Ohio have abandoned an effort that could have put the issue before the swing state's voters, because they say two actions by state officials have made the expansion a reality.

Two key players with the Healthy Ohioans Work coalition said Monday they have withdrawn a petition that was at the heart of their effort. Jon Allison and Sean McGlone filed the paperwork with Ohio's secretary of state Dec. 4.

The group of health advocates, labor groups and others launched their petition effort in September, after state lawmakers balked at the idea of expanding Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled.

The coalition was collecting signatures to force the Legislature to act on Medicaid expansion. Under their petition, if lawmakers passed, amended or took no action the proposal, then they could have sought to get the issue on 2014 ballots.

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