Ohio’s anti-gay law lets another unmarried abuser off the hook

An Ohio man’s domestic violence conviction was voided last week because he wasn’t married to the woman he abused. Dallas McKinley was convicted of a fourth-degree felony after he pushed his girlfriend, hit her and threw objects at her. The ruling, as it stands, leaves prosecutors with the option of seeking a lesser charge.
This is all because the state of Ohio would rather allow domestic violence without consequences than let gay couples get married. The state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage has made domestic violence law only applicable to married couples.
It guess it’s a good thing violence only happens in state-sanctioned relationships. Riiight.

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  • Katie

    wait….so a man who beats his girlfriend cant be charged with domestic violence? what sort of lesser charge is he slapped with if he beats his GF? you have to be kidding me. i have never heard such absurdity in my life.

  • jdfeminist

    It seems the problem lies with the law and not with the ruling. If domestic violence law is tailored only to married couples, then it seems underinclusive. The solution is simple enough to recognize though certainly not to achieve. The solution would be to draft (and enact) an amendment to the existing domestic violence statute(s) which would be applicable to persons who cohabitate, share a residence, an abode, etc. Now, whether this is a good idea is a different question but it seems to me to be what underlies your outrage.

  • C’mon now

    jdfeminist, I think a better solution than that would be to do away with domestic violence law to begin with. We already have assault and battery laws, I don’t like putting it in the government’s hands to decide the relative importance of all varieties of relationships which might or might not include marriage, living together, fuck-buddies, someone you’ve been seeing for a month, that mistress on the side, the girl you went out on a date with from match.com, etc.

  • C

    That’s an interesting point, C’mon Now. Except that I think DV laws have historically been necessary because DV has raised evidentiary and procedural issues that are not present in your typical A&B case. For instance, I know that in some states, a 911 call stating that DV has occurred (be it spousal or child abuse), when a police officer arrives at the site of the call, she has probable cause to enter the home once she sees any sign of violence, thereby broadening probable cause beyond what a PO might have under A&B laws. Also, some states require that a police officer make inquiries and talk to spouses separately when DV is called in, because of the concern that an abused spouse will likely not a) want to talk to the cops at all and b) want to talk to the cops in front of the abusive spouse.
    I say spouse, but I agree DV laws should extend to anyone in co-habitating relationship. The key difference between DV and A&B is that DV occurs in the private sphere of the home, and is likely to extend to control of a partner/spouse/child’s life in other ways (i.e., financial control) and touch on issues of shame and guilt and pressure to keep the fact that one has been hit or abused or humiliated from other family members or friends.
    That was a long way of saying, I wish A&B laws would suffice and I agree that more laws aren’t necessarily better. However, I don’t think that A&B laws are enough in this situation.

  • lytonya

    actually, you guys, the DV laws in most states DO apply to co-habitation and even sometimes just two people in a dating relationship. Ohio’s DV laws, as written and ruled upon in the state courts, applied to cohabitating adults. What happened is Ohio’s nifty little Constitutional ban said that not only is marriage between one man and one woman but that ALSO no benefits of a marriage can be extended to any other relationship… that no relationship will be recognized that attempts to garner similar rights and priviledges of marriage. So, NOW common law marriages, live-ins, boyfriend, girlfriend, same sex or heterosexual… they don’t count unless they are married. period. get it? state universities are worried because it appears that they will have to revoke benefits of employees with same sex partners (not to mention their claim that they don’t discriminate based on sexual orientation) and even some challenges to PRIVATE companies offering same sex benefits.
    oh, and another reason why DV laws are necessary: spouses cannot usually testify against each other. that’s a right of marrieg people only and there is no contract you could write up to give you that priviledge with another person. only marriage. this could be important for other reasons too. ask Rosie.

  • Raging Moderate

    “oh, and another reason why DV laws are necessary: spouses cannot usually testify against each other.”
    I knew that a spouse could not be forced to testify aginst the other spouse. Are you saying that if one spouse assaults the other, the victim cannot testify against the perp?