Ian James of Freedom to Marry Ohio “dropped off nearly 1,800 signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on Thursday as a first step in changing Ohio’s Constitution” prohibition against same-sex marriage. James, who married his partner in Canada in 2003, hopes to change the state constitution’s definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman, while protecting religious group’s freedom to “refuse to recognize or perform a ceremony of marriage.” Watch a local news profile:
Meanwhile, opponents of marriage equality are confident that they will defeat the effort. “We don’t think our children should be taught in public schools that homosexuality is the norm,” Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, said. “That’s what’s happened in these states, where they have approved same-sex marriage. Once you approve same-sex marriage, then the children are the target.”
Under Ohio law, the group will need 1,000 valid signatures to place the issue before Ohio voters this fall or possibly next year. “If DeWine approves the ballot language of the proposed amendment, it will be sent to the Ohio Ballot Board, which would determine whether the proposal can be placed on the ballot as one or multiple issues. At that point, the Freedom to Marry Coalition can begin the task of collecting the 385,253 valid signatures required to put the issue on the statewide ballot.”
Equality Ohio notes that some 32 percent of residents back marriage equality, but many support civil unions. It also estimates that the cost of getting on the ballot could run as high as $2.25 million.