Yesterday, the Ohio Senate passed by a single vote a radical bill that would strip most of the state’s public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights. Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) claims doing so will save the state over a billion dollars, yet he continues to defend tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy that would serve the same purpose.
Yet there is also a hidden provision to the bill that has absolutely nothing to do with labor rights. As FireDogLake’s David Dayden notes, Sec. 3101.01 of the bill includes a provision that says that a “marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman.” Furthermore, it blocks the “recognition or extension by the state” of the legal benefits of marriage, which may act to block any sort of civil union recognition:
Sec. 3101.01 of S.B. 5: … A marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman. Any marriage between persons of the same sex is against the strong public policy of this state. Any marriage between persons of the same sex shall have no legal force or effect in this state and, if attempted to be entered into in this state, is void ab initio and shall not be recognized by this state. The recognition or extension by the state of the specific statutory benefits of a legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is against the strong public policy of this state. Any public act, record or judicial proceeding of this state, as defined in section 9.82 of the Revised Code, that extends the specific statutory benefits of legal marriage to non-marital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes is void.
It is worth pointing out that the state of Ohio already banned the recognition of same-sex marriage in 2004 — meaning that this language is either redundant and spiteful or aimed at preventing the recognition of equal benefits to same-sex couples by means other than marriage. As a wide-ranging Main Street Movement continues to protest against the bill, it may pass the Ohio House as early as today.
This completely irrelevant provision is an example of what GOP state Sen. Bill Seitz warned of when he condemned his own party for moving ahead so quickly on S.B. 5 that not even the state’s lawmakers had proper time to consider it.
Local blog Plunderbund argues that the section in question is simply restating current Ohio law.