Ohio AG Mike DeWine Approves Gay Marriage Ballot Initiative Language

Mike dewineThe language for a proposed ballot initiative aimed at overturning Ohio’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has been approved by the state’s Attorney General Mike DeWine (R-pictured).

The AP reports:

The amendment language approved by DeWine Monday would also keep clergy from being forced to perform a same-sex marriage. The language goes next to the state ballot board for review.

The group FreedomOhio is seeking to repeal and replace Ohio's 2004 prohibition on gay marriage.

DeWine's decision is not related to a federal judge's decision Monday ordering Ohio authorities to recognize the marriages of gay couples performed in other states.

Gay rights groups in the state are hoping to put the gay marriage question back in the hands of voters as early as this November.

A poll in February indicated that support for marriage equality in Ohio has hit the 50% mark.  


  1. pete n sfo says

    Civil Rights should not be voted on in a ballot box.

    In CA Prop 8 removed the right to marry & was deemed motivated by animus by the Supreme Court. So what would be the legal result if this attempt fails? Would these discriminatory Constitutional amendments carry if no animus is found? A very bad precedent.

    It is still one person voting on the civil rights of another… never a good idea.

  2. Josh says

    Ohio already voted on same-sex marriage in 2004. The fastest way to afford Ohio gay couples marriage rights is for the voters to overturn the prior mistake.

    The pro-equality rulings are all being stayed until SCOTUS rules as late as 2016.

  3. Bill says

    @pete n sfo:
    Interested readers might want to read http://www.ce9.uscourts.gov/prop8/FF_CL_Final.pdf (the full legal decision removing Prop 8) as some of the grounds for declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional are unique to California. For example, “Proposition 8 eliminates the right to marry for gays and lesbians but does not affect any other substantive right under the California Constitution.” (The State Supreme Court had declared the predecessor of Prop 8 to be unconstitutional a few months before Prop 8 passed).

    Also “The evidence at trial regarding the campaign to pass Proposition 8 uncloaks the most likely explanation for its passage: a desire to advance the belief that opposite-sex couples are
    morally superior to same-sex couples, relied heavily on negative stereotypes about gays and lesbians and focused on protecting children from inchoate threats vaguely associated with gays and lesbians.” (I.e., the campaign to pass Prop 8 showed its motivation was pure animus, so their attack ads harmed the “Yes on Eight” people at the end of the process, although it helped them get the measure passed.)

    There’s a lot in this decision, and much of it would apply elsewhere, plus we now have a U.S. Supreme Court decision as well.

  4. Nelson says

    IF it DOES go to a vote – which it shouldn’t – it would be foolish to not wait until the next presidential election when liberals will actually turn out. I am sorry to say, they do NOT turn out in local races or in Congressional races, which is why we get The Boehner.

  5. says

    I agree that on principle that civil rights should not be voted on. But I also believe the fastest way to get the marriage ban completely overturned in Ohio is via the ballot box. Think of the message it sends to the country, when a bellwether state like Ohio approves marriage equality. All the dominoes would fall. And this can be done, if the national LGBT organizations focus on making it happen.

    The last few years have seen tremendous progress for the LGBT community: Hate Crimes Legislation, two historic Supreme Court rulings, and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In all cases, it took the activists to get the ball rolling, often with HRC and the other high profile groups cautioning that it wasn’t time yet before finally being dragged into the party. When HRC’s Joe Solomonese was replaced by Chad Griffin, I had faint hopes that HRC would start to push more – but thus far that hasn’t been the case. They continue to take the “wait for the perfect time” approach, hunker down in their $16 million headquarters, and plan their next black-tie fundraiser. But there is seldom a perfect time in politics – and we oughtn’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

    Essentially, there are two pieces of unfinished business remaining on the LGBT political agenda (as opposed to social issues, like bullying and teen suicide, where we still have a long way to go): nationwide marriage equality, and equal accommodations in employment, housing, credit, and the like. Once these political hurdles are jumped, there will be little reason for lobbies like HRC to exist. And I think they fear that even more than anti-gay discrimination.

  6. John says

    Hank, I’d like to think that your comments were correct, but even after all the states have moved to full equality for the LGBT community, we will still need the HRC and other advocacy organizations to make sure the laws are enforced, and to change minds. We are, after all, still having battles about racial issues that were “resolved” 50 years ago!

  7. TKinSC says

    Why do people still keep holding on to the crazy notion that the Supreme Court struck down Prop. 8? It did nothing of the sort. It merely said that those who appealed the original district court decision were not state agents and therefore had no right to appeal. It then vacated the circuit court decision (which happened to agree with the district court), leaving the original district court decision as the controlling law unless and until such time as the state chooses to appeal it.