Judge approves agreement for state to pay $1.3 million in attorneys' fees in gay marriage case

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CINCINNATI — The state will pay $1.3 million in attorneys' fees and expenses to the law firm that handled the challenges of Ohio's gay marriage ban, a judge ruled Monday.

An order by Cincinnati federal Judge Timothy Black approved a legal costs agreement between the Ohio Department of Health and Cincinnati law firm Gerhardstein and Branch Co.

In 2013, the firm sued the state on behalf of two gay Ohio men whose spouses recently died and wanted to be recognized on their death certificates as married. The two couples got married in states that allow same-sex marriage. In 2014, the firm sued on behalf of gay couples seeking recognition of their marriages performed in other states.

Black previously ruled in favor of gay couples in both cases. The judge on Monday issued his final orders based on last summer's 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage across the country.

Black gave the Ohio Health Department a month to publicize his ruling. The judge said posting it on the agency's website is sufficient. A message was left with the Health Department seeking comment.

This story was corrected to show that the amount awarded for attorney's fees was $1.3 million, not $1.5 million.

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