Honors and Awards

John P. Curp Honored for LGBTQ+ Advocacy by Cincinnati City Council

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that John P. Curp was recognized by the Cincinnati City Council for his contributions to the City and advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community at the June 23, 2021, City Council meeting.

John, who served as City Solicitor and leader of the Cincinnati Law Department Office (2008–2014), was recognized along with his former Deputy Solicitor, Aaron Herzig, and the City of Cincinnati Law Department for their notable role in refusing to defend Ohio’s unconstitutional law prohibiting the recognition of Jim Obergefell and John Arthur’s out-of-state marriage in Maryland in their home state of Ohio (Obergefell v. Kasich, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, July 19, 2013).

Cincinnati was the original party to the action because the City Health Commissioner, serving as the custodian for birth and death records, was prohibited by Ohio’s 2004 statutory law—which prohibited the recognition of lawful marriages between members of the LGBTQ+ community—from recognizing Arthur as Obergefell’s spouse on Arthur’s death certificate. Ohio Attorney General DeWine stepped in to defend the law, which was ultimately deemed unconstitutional by the Honorable Judge Timothy Black, who ruled on December 23, 2013, that Ohio's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions was discriminatory and ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions on death certificates. This case ultimately led to the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which affirmed that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In a joint statement, Blank Rome partners Beth Bernstein Connors and Brett A. Snyder, who serve as chairs of the firm’s BR Pride affinity group, stated, “We could not be more proud of John for his tremendous efforts and advocacy in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion rights in our country. During this LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we are reminded that our country and legal system have come far in recognizing LGBTQ+ rights, but there is still progress to be made through the dedicated efforts and support of allies such as John and his colleagues, who understand the importance of equal protection and rights under the law for all.”

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Blank Rome Partner John Curp (left) with Cincinnati City Council Member Chris Seelbach.
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Former Deputy Solicitor Aaron Herzig (left), City of Cincinnati Council Member Chris Seelbach (center), and Blank Rome Partner John Curp.