2004: Ohio Constitution modified to deny state recognition of same-sex relationships:
"Ohio Issue 1," an amendment to the state Constitution, was passed by the voters during 2004 by a margin of 62% to 38%. The text reads:
This constitutional amendment prohibits the Ohio Legislature from creating laws to make marriages, domestic partnerships, and/or civil unions available to same-sex couples. The result is that loving, committed same-sex couples are considered as mere roommates by the state. These couples and their children are denied benefits and protections automatically given to opposite-sex married couples in Ohio. These total a few hundred state benefits plus over 1,100 federal benefits. 1
On 2013-JUN-26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the federal lawsuit Edith Windsor v. United States. They determined Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. This means that once a same-sex couple is married in a state with marriage equality, or a same-sex couple has been married elsewhere and moved or returned to a state that recognizes out-of-state same-sex marriages, they are treated like opposite-sex marriage couples in terms of access to the 1,100 federal benefits.
As long as Ohio's constitutional amendment created by Issue 1 remains in force, same-sex couples in Ohio will be unable to marry and be unable to have their out-of-state marriages recognized. Thus, they and their children will have no access to either the state or federal benefits.
2013-MAR: Support for a proposal to repeal "Issue 1" and legalize SSM in Ohio:
A Saperstein poll sampled 1,003 adults in Ohio from MAR-5 to 10 via cell phones and land lines. 2
Results showed 54% support and 40% opposition for a proposal that would:
The margin of error of this poll is ±3.1 percentage points.
The proposal would include a redundant clause protecting clergy and congregations who wish to continue to discriminate against same-sex couples by refusing to marry them. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution already gives absolute protection to faith groups and clergy in such matters. For centuries, clergy in America have regularly refused to marry couples because they were regarded as too immature, were an interfaith couple, or of a different faith group, or of mixed race, or of African American ancestry, and even -- in the case of the Roman Catholic Church -- where one of the couple was physically disabled. Recently, some pastors, ministers and priests have been refusing to marry same-sex couples in those states where it is legal. To our knowledge, no member of the clergy in the U.S. has ever run afoul of any law for refusing to marry a couple for any reason. Still, it is important to add a clause protecting clergy to any constitutional amendment, or any bill introduced into the state legislature, or any citizen initiative that involves marriage for same-sex couples. As Martin D. Saperstein -- head of the Columbus, OH firm that conducted the poll -- said, such clauses are important because:
Jen Tyrrell, a lesbian who has been in a relationship with her female partner for six years, has been selected to co-chair a steering committee to prepare a referendum, probably to be held in 2013-NOV. If passed, it would repeal the 2004 constitutional amendment and bring about marriage equality. She rejects arguments by social and religious conservatives against SSM, saying that:
It is important to recall that there have been many instances during the history of the United States when marriage has been redefined. To state it more precisely, the eligibility to be married was redefined:
Chris Long is president of the Ohio Christian Alliance, a group opposing marriage equality. He says that support for same-sex marriage has grown because:
Religious and social conservatives often use the term "homosexual lifestyle" in places where others refer to "homosexual orientation." "Lifestyle" carries with it the impression that homosexuality is something that the individual chooses. Essentially all people in the LGBT community, human sexuality researchers, mental health professionals, religious progressives, and secularists regard sexual orientation as something that a person discovers, and does not choose.
We suspect that the increase in support for marriage equality and for equal rights for the LGBT community has been primarily caused by:
Chris Long suggested that if SSM becomes available in Ohio, it might not be long before Christians in the U.S. are prosecuted for spreading hate speech by merely sharing Bible passages that some interpret as condemning same-gender sexual behavior. 2 He said that some Canadian Christians have been so prosecuted. He may not be aware that the Canadian Constitution does not have a clause equivalent to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees almost complete freedom of speech. Canada follows the British tradition of banning hate speech and advocacy of genocide. Christians in the U.S. would only have to fear prosecution for speaking openly against homosexuality or engaging in hate speech if the First Amendment were first repealed. The chances of that ever happening are essentially zero.
Comments on the Saperstein poll article about SSM in The Columbus Dispatch newspaper:
The Columbus Dispatch article contained some comments given by individuals involved in the Saperstein poll:
This topic continues in the next essay
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