Ohio judge OKs divorce for 2 women, then undoes it

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ATHENS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge who mistakenly approved a divorce between two women vacated his decision because their marriage isn't recognized under state law.

Brenda Mohney and Erin O'Leary married in California in 2008, but only Mohney appeared during the divorce proceedings and an Athens County judge didn't realize both parties are women when he approved the split in November, The Athens Messenger (http://bit.ly/1AVE2yY ) reported.

Judge George McCarthy concluded he had to undo his decision because the union isn't legally valid under Ohio's gay marriage ban. He vacated the approval late last week after scheduling hearings to explain the situation.

He said it came down to an issue of jurisdiction and legal authority and that the reversal doesn't reflect any personal view of the women or their relationship.

"The issue of same-sex marriage is one of nationwide concern, and higher courts than this will eventually determine the constitutional issues related thereto with finality," he wrote in the order. "In the meantime, Ohio law and policy ... mandate that this court not recognize the parties' union as a lawful marriage for purposes of Ohio divorce law."

Mohney, of Nelsonville, represented herself, according to court records. There was no public phone listing for her there.

Other media reported O'Leary has moved from the area.


Information from: The Athens Messenger, http://www.athensmessenger.com/

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