Judge: Ohio Domestic Violence Law Only Applies To Married Couples
Judge Reduces Felony Charge To Assault, Citing Issue 1
POSTED: 1:12 pm EST March 23, 2005
CLEVELAND -- A judge's ruling could lead to the repeal of Ohio's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
NewsChannel5 reported that a Cuyahoga County judge Wednesday reduced a domestic violence charge against a man accused of attacking his live-in girlfriend, saying the law only applies to married couples under the new amendment.
Frederick Burk was charged with domestic violence, a felony, but Judge Stuart Friedman reduced the charge to assault.
Last fall, Ohio voters passed Issue 1, a constitutional amendment that forbids the state to grant legal status to relationships of unmarried individuals like Burk and his girl friend.
Friedman ruled Ohio's domestic violence charge applies only to married individuals because of Issue 1.
Prosecutors say future domestic violence cases are in jeopardy because of this ruling.
"They are in jeopardy but only in this courtroom," said prosecutor Chipper Xavier. "What you have is a lot of judges who if they get this motion, some will decided that its proper that unmarried partners are subject to the domestic violence statue, but in this court room, Judge Friedman has decided that unmarried couples are not afforded that protection."
Prosecutors plan to appeal Friedman's ruling and both sides expect the case to go to the Ohio Supreme Court.