National LGBT Groups Distance Themselves from Ohio Campaign to Put Gay Marriage on 2014 Ballot
Today, FreedomOhio, a group working to put same-sex marriage on the ballot in Ohio in 2014, announced that "the Human Rights Campaign, Equality Ohio, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, National Freedom to Marry, the Gill Action Fund, the American Unity Fund and the BISC met today and discussed how to become involved in next year’s campaign" according to the Columbus Dispatch.
“We have decided to be on the ballot in 2014 to allow for a continuing dialogue with voters across Ohio about why marriage matters. We will continue to build upon the hundreds of thousands of conversations we’ve had already, to identify supportive voters, and to raise the resources necessary to mobilize a full-on campaign.”
Later this afternoon, those groups confirmed the meeting in an email, but said there was no discussion about putting the measure on the ballot in 2014 or any other date:
Contrary to the assertions made by Ian James in an unapproved statement, there was no agreement reached to put forward a ballot initiative in 2014 or any other specific date. Instead, all of the groups in attendance, including Freedom Ohio and nearly a dozen other leading organizations, agreed to work together to talk to Ohio voters about why marriage matters and strengthen our coalition in the months ahead, reserving judgment on the timing of a ballot initiative until a clear pathway to victory could be determined and carried out.
“Ohio families deserve to win marriage as soon as possible. And our national partners have won marriage equality in 13 jurisdictions. We are putting together a strong, honest coalition and a responsible plan to win,” said Elyzabeth Holford, Executive Director of Equality Ohio. “We intend to win and will do everything necessary to secure fairness for same-sex couples and their families.”
“We are committed to winning marriage in Ohio as soon as possible, and to developing the kind of robust campaign that has helped us achieve historic victories across the country,” said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director for Freedom to Marry. “What we need to do now is engage in the real work to increase public support so we can win on the ballot—in 2016, or if possible sooner.”
“Ian James must have attended a different meeting than the rest of us,” said Marty Rouse, National Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign. “Representatives from 11 state and national organizations participated in today’s meeting. Ten of them came away with a clear understanding that we would refrain from deciding on timing until it was responsible to do so. We’re perplexed as to how Freedom Ohio came away with a different understanding.”