Marriage heading back to Ohio ballot

Marriage | Whitney Williams

Marriage heading back to Ohio ballot

Traditional marriage supporters attend a rally in Cincinnati in 2005, a year before voters passed a ban on same-sex "marriage."
Associated Press/Photo by Kiichiro Sato

Nine years after approving a ban on same-sex “marriage,” Ohio voters may have to return to the ballot box to defend the measure.

Gay advocacy group FreedomOhio claims it will have enough signatures to put a proposition overturning the 2004 ban on the November ballot.

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According to The Columbus Dispatch, the group is gaining ground in its effort to collect the 385,253 valid signatures it needs. It’s also making headway with  fundraising, collecting endorsements, and expanding its organization.

According to FreedomOhio cofounder Ian James, the group’s executive committee has the final say in when to submit signatures, required by July 3 to be considered for the Nov. 5 ballot. But he is confident the group will meet the deadline.

“We will qualify (for the ballot) in over 50 counties. We will have the signatures to file by July 3. … We would do this no matter when it appears on the ballot,” he told The Dispatch.

The group announced Friday that gay U.S. soldier, Stephen Snyder-Hill, a Columbus resident, has joined in the effort to overturn the ban, focusing on outreach.

Snyder-Hill became well known after a handful of people attending a Republican presidential debate in 2011 booed him for the video question he submitted to candidates concerning gays in the military. He was deployed in Iraq at the time.

“I love my country and I believe this nation is becoming more loving, more tolerant and more accepting,” Snyder-Hill told FreedomOhio. “More and more people are coming to understand this is a basic civil-rights issue and a human-rights issue.”

The amendment banning same-sex marriage was supported by 62 percent of Ohio voters in 2004. FreedomOhio’s proposed measure wouldn't require churches and other religious institutions to officiate or recognize gay marriages.

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