In a twist that makes unmarried women victims of Ohio's new anti-gay marriage amendment, a judge there has ruled that domestic violence charges can be made only in cases of marriage:
Domestic violence charges cannot be filed against unmarried people because of Ohio's new constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman changed a felony domestic violence charge against Frederick Burk to a misdemeanor assault charge.
Prosecutors immediately appealed.
Judges and others across the country have been waiting for a ruling on how the gay marriage ban, among the nation's broadest, would affect Ohio's 25-year-old domestic violence law, which previously wasn't limited to married people.
Burk, 42, is accused of slapping and pushing his live-in girlfriend during a January argument over a pack of cigarettes.
His public defender, David Magee, had asked the judge to throw out the charge because of the new wording in Ohio's constitution that prohibits any state or local law that would "create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals."
Before the amendment, courts applied the domestic violence law by defining a family as including an unmarried couple living together as would a husband and wife, the judge said. The gay marriage amendment no longer allows that.
Blinded by hate and bigotry, now the residents of Ohio get to reap the rewards of their righteous indignation. They thought the law was directed against gays, but now they're facing the fact that the law can hurt them in very direct ways.
Because Burk had a prior domestic violence conviction, the latest charge was a felony that could have resulted in an 18-month jail term; a misdemeanor assault carries a maximum sentence of six months.
Now isn't that just lovely? At least the battered unmarried women of Ohio can find solace in the fact that their suffering is for the noble cause of preventing gays from marrying. Here's to black eyes against gays. Here's to broken ribs to support heterosexuality. Here's to rape in the name of straight pride.
Of course, the evangelical conservatives, never ones to pass up a political opportunity, will probably crow about how these women are being punished for living in sin. Isn't that the message coming from their ranks? If you're not a married Christian, then you're not worthy of consideration? These women should be thankful that their homes weren't swept away in a tsunami.