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Efforts underway to reverse Ohio ban on same-sex marriage?

Marriage equality

By Adam Bink

This went unnoticed, but a Thursday piece in the Columbus Dispatch reports signature-gathering for a ballot question in November or soon after (an effort which apparently came about inspired by the 9th Circuit ruling in the Prop 8 trial case):

A proposed constitutional amendment to undo Ohio’s 2004 same-sex marriage ban will be submitted today to Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The Freedom to Marry Coalition expects to file more than 1,700 signatures of registered Ohio voters; 1,000 valid signatures are required in the first step of placing a constitutional issue before Ohio voters this fall or possibly next year.

The proposal would change the Ohio Constitution — amended in 2004 to block same-sex marriage — to say that the state and political jurisdictions define marriage as “a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender.” It also would stipulate that “no religious institution shall be required to perform or recognize a marriage.”

Tim Hagan, former Cuyahoga County commissioner, Democratic candidate for governor in 2002 and co-chairman of the campaign, called it “the most-significant civil-rights act since 1964. I don’t know how one human being can look at another human being and say, ‘You don’t have the same rights.’

“I have a sister who’s gay. I have close friends who are gay,” Hagan said. “But this is not just a gay issue. This is an issue for all of us who believe strongly in human rights.”

Phil Burress, of the Cincinnati-based group Citizens for Community Values, said that if same-sex marriage supporters put the issue on the ballot this fall “they can kiss (President Barack) Obama goodbye.” Burress’ group was instrumental in passing the 2004 amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman, an issue credited by some with helping President George W. Bush to win a second term.

“I guess they’re feeling their oats because seven states have same-sex marriage,” Burress said. “ They’re going to have their hands full. We’re prepared to meet them on the field of battle.”

If DeWine approves the ballot language of the proposed amendment, it will be sent to the Ohio Ballot Board, which would determine whether the proposal can be placed on the ballot as one or multiple issues.

At that point, the Freedom to Marry Coalition can begin the task of collecting the 385,253 valid signatures required to put the issue on the statewide ballot. That could happen in November or next year, campaign officials indicated.

Hagan acknowledged that overturning the ban will be a “challenge,” but he said he thinks there has been a “fundamental shift” in public opinion since 62 percent of Ohio voters supported the 2004 amendment.

[…]The Freedom to Marry Coalition sprang up this year after a federal appeals court ruled that a same-sex marriage ban in California was unconstitutional.

Dozens of elected officials and candidates, most of them Democrats, signed on in support of the coalition, including Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther, Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady and Michael F. Curtin, former editor of The Dispatch and now a Democratic candidate for the 17th District in the Ohio House.


  • 1. renecito  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Yeah our turn :-)

  • 2. Straght4Equality  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:30 am

    OT: I was looking at the list of the twelve states hit by tornadoes in the last few days, and this struck me. Those who claim that God will take revenge against those who support same-sex marriage should note that none of the states with legal marriage equality were hit, and I believe that IL was the only state touched which had any form of recognition of gay couples. On the other hand, look at how many of those states have decreed that marriage is only between one man and one woman. Religious bigots, explain that!

    (No, I'm not superstitious enough to think that weather is affected by such things.)

  • 3. exx-man  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    It will be interesting indeed to see how Pat Robertson spins this into being our fault.

  • 4. Kate  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    ohmygod — this morning when I first looked at the video that's up on You Tube, only about 350 people had watched it. Now, only a few hours later, it's up to over 98,000!!!!!!!!! Thank you, Rob Reiner; thank you Dustin and all of the actors who particupated. THIS is how to have an impact.

  • 5. Str8Grandmother  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    At least in Ohio they are "at bat" they are at Home plate taking swings. You can't win the ballgame if you don't step up to the plate. I am excited with this development. If nothing else it causes NOM to be spread even thinner.

    I am hopeful for Ohio. Why not? Last year I was crushed when we came so close in Maryland and then they were a few votes shy. It didn't happen last year but this year it did. Go Ohio!!!! At LEAST you are making forward momentum.

  • 6. Eric  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Why are those that purport to follow a God of love quickest to frame the discussion in terms of war and battle?

  • 7. Rich  |  March 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Oooh!, NOM is in virtual meltdown…some blogger named Randy (probably Brian in disguise) is practically apoplectic with his over the top retorts to everyone who presents any reasoned argument against him. The hate he carries is enough to doom twenty men….but a rich resource for those of us anxious to share his vitriol with the larger world.

  • 8. Noxy  |  March 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    So, is that a death threat against the President…?

  • 9. Straight Dave  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    "…this decadent horde of miscreants" ??
    Sounds like fun. Haven't done that since I was 20. Where do I sign up?

  • 10. steven  |  March 5, 2012 at 1:15 am

    This is great about Ohio, but I feel like our civil rights shouldn't voted on for any reason, but legal and rational reasons. We should pass laws before a ballot measure gets on a ballot it should get a court approval first for constitutionality of it. For an example, CA Supreme Court should have stopped Prop 8 mess before it started.

  • 11. Gregory in SLC  |  March 5, 2012 at 5:25 am

    250,000 and rising! Glad your internet cooperated so you could see the live broadcast momma G.F. : )

  • 12. AnonyGrl  |  March 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

    It certainly APPEARS to be. Someone want to forward that to the Secret Service, or Homeland Security or something?

  • 13. peterplumber  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Speaking of the Bible Belt states, a new list was published on today. The most unhappy states in the country. Funny how this list coincides with most of the Bible Belt.
    1. West Virginia
    2. Kentucky
    3. Mississippi
    4. Delaware
    5. Ohio
    6. Alabama
    7. Arkansas
    8. Missouri
    9. Florida
    10. Tennessee

  • 14. Bob  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

    thanks Straight Dave, don't often see the Nom blog,,, aside from the death threat,,,, which is alarming,,,, if these folks get can get the extremeists riled,,, past presidents have been shot,,, I worry about that for Obama,,,,,

    and just love the good work of Sheryl Carver, her post at the bottom of the page,,,,so glad some folks have the stamina to go over therir and set them straight,,,, way to go Sheryl

  • 15. rocketeer500  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Steven, the CA Supreme Court, couldn't have stopped Prop 8. The proposition was legal, and went thru the established process (it was the inititative process that failed, not the CA Supreme Court). There wasn't anything illegal about it (the process). Unless the proposition was illegal in some way–bypassing the established process and set guidelines, the CA Supreme Court would not have been involved.

    The only time that the CA Supreme Court could have become, and indeed, did become involved, was when the initiative passed, California was then sued, due to the harm that was created (removing the right of same-sex marriage).

    However, the CA Supreme Court had their hands-tied becasue Prop 8 was an amendment to CA Constitution. And since the CA Supreme Court is bound to protect the constitution, they could not rule on the virtue of Prop 8, only that the ballot was done in accordance to law. The only thing that the CA Supreme Court could do was to make known that the marriages that took place between June 17, 2008 – November 4, 2008, were valid.

  • 16. Lashof  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Please don't link to NOM, Take a screenshot and link to that. If you link to their blog, they get advertising revenue. by linking to NOM's blog you are giving NOM money!

  • 17. Bob  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:11 am… the Catholic Church speaking out in the U.K. against same sex marriage

  • 18. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  March 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

    […] March 4, we reported that efforts were underway to bring same-sex marriage to a ballot vote in Ohio as early as this […]

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