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Ohio Voters May Have Opportunity to Repeal 2004 Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

There is movement afoot in Ohio to do away with the state's ban on same-sex marriage, the Dispatch reports:

OhioThe 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.'

Anti-gay groups say such a move will be tied, as it was in 2004, to the presidential election:

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.

385,253 signatures will be required to get the measure on the ballot should it be approved by the Ohio Ballot Board.

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  1. Even if it's repealed, that stain ain't ever coming out.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Mar 1, 2012 1:54:28 PM

  2. Is it just my imagination, or do a lot of Gay blogs and websites now seem to be pushing the idea of marriage equality ballot measures? I hope I'm wrong about this. If I'm not, it means the Gay Rights movement is getting prematurely senile!

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Mar 1, 2012 1:57:30 PM

  3. Umm, it's Ohio. So nice try, but it seems doomed to fail.

    And why, Stuffed Animal, is marriage equality such a terrible thing? Don't get me wrong, I'd never get married. But some people do.

    Posted by: Paul R | Mar 1, 2012 2:20:40 PM

  4. It's too early Ohio! 2016, after the federal recognition ban in DOMA is struck down and other states have equality: IL, RI, HI, DE - which are probably coming in 2013, OR which can win an ballot fight in 2014. I hate to tell anyone to wait for what they deserve but moving too quickly could be bad for gay people in a lot of other states -- MI and PA for example.

    Posted by: Chris Gable | Mar 1, 2012 2:24:41 PM

  5. Correct and noble effort but terrible politics. The last item you want on a 2012 ballot in a swing state is one of the crazies, loonies hot-button issues. It will bring them out in droves and you'll have Mitt the Mormon in charge in 2013 appointing judges to SCOTUS. See how the Marriage case does in front of THAT bench!

    Posted by: Contrarian | Mar 1, 2012 2:27:17 PM

  6. The only way repeal could pass would be if Kentucky annexxed all of Ohio south of Columbus and west of Athens.

    Posted by: Hank | Mar 1, 2012 2:34:31 PM

  7. Really, I half wonder if this ballot measure is being pushed by the GOP given the timing. I'm generally of the opinion we should do it in every damn state every damn year until it passes, but only doing it sometimes and then only in places we're likely to (A) lose and (B) hurt Obama's chances of reelection is just dumb. We have to be smarter about the fact that the number of people who DESPISE gay people is greater than the number of gay people. And the people who like us, only like us AS MUCH AS they like their other friends. And most people just don't give us that much thought one way or the other - that's how we go from 60% support in opinion polls to 47% at the actual polls, after the mushy middle has been hearing screeds against us in church for a few weeks straight. We're always going to be in a passion deficit on these ballot questions.

    Posted by: BGKev | Mar 1, 2012 2:39:23 PM

  8. Agreed with some of the other comments. I wish this could happen, but the polling in Ohio looks really, really bad.

    Posted by: Owen | Mar 1, 2012 3:15:22 PM

  9. Hank is correct; except for a few neighborhoods in Columbus and a couple in Cleveland as well as the Heights and Oberlin in NE Ohio and Yellow Springs in SW Ohio- Ohio will never vote in marriage equality as conservative Catholics and fundamentalist Christians rule the state.

    Posted by: Nick | Mar 1, 2012 3:22:23 PM

  10. Paul, I believe Stuffed Animal was questioning the necessity of a ballot measure, not gay marriage.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Mar 1, 2012 3:27:11 PM

  11. As unfortunate as it sounds, this is not the time to be potentially jeopardizing Obama's reelection chances, especially considering the polling is not great either. There are 4 SC justices who are older than 73, and, 3 of those 4 are more likely to eventually rule in our favor to strike down these very bans. Losing any of these 3 through a Romney/Santorum presidency would be disastrous.

    Posted by: Jon | Mar 1, 2012 3:49:07 PM

  12. Jon's a smart guy.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Mar 1, 2012 4:17:34 PM

  13. Repeal won't happen this year. I've lived here most of my life and can tell you that West Virginia is more progressive. Outside of the major cities and some college towns Ohio is fundieville, USA.

    Posted by: Dale | Mar 1, 2012 5:40:32 PM

  14. TOO SOON -- and not because of hurting Obama.
    Repubs are going to be voting in high numbers this fall. By next year, the issue is going to be more mainstream, or there may be a Supreme Court ruling by then.
    My cousin in Cincy told me that Gays marrying would make the Guy down the street want to marry his dog -- Santorum crap

    Posted by: Bob | Mar 1, 2012 7:06:37 PM

  15. From Ohio (Cleveland) and really getting concerned about this. As the post states, when the original amendment went on the ballot Ohio became the Florida of Bush's 2nd election. One thing you can count on in Ohio is the rightwing turning out in DROVES to vote down something controversial and vote IN a repug presidential candidate. The two go hand-in-hand here--still rather surprised Obama carried Ohio last time. I truly don't think it will pass, and the fallout could be disastrous all around this year.

    I'm also disgusted to see yet another case involving civil rights having to be put on the ballot. I'm obviously thrilled that there's a movement to get the amendment, as it stands, off the book, but this timing is just dangerous. Tim Hagan has always been great, and his intentions are good, but this timing is WAY off. Ohio is not a good place to try to blaze trails, at present, after the last gubernatorial election, and current administration. Better to shelve it for a couple more years and let DOMA move thru to the SCOTUS; or put a ballot initiative out there in a NON-presidential election year.

    Posted by: jim | Mar 1, 2012 7:31:41 PM

  16. It won't make the ballot for this fall's Presidential Election.

    Posted by: Tracy | Mar 1, 2012 7:58:46 PM

  17. I agree with a few on here. It's too early for Ohio. The prejudice part of the southern Ohio is still too powerful. DOMA needs to be repealed and seen and recognized as unconstitutional.

    Posted by: Dale | Mar 1, 2012 11:27:56 PM

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