On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) rejected a petition from marriage equality advocates seeking to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Though Ian James of Freedom to Marry Ohio submitted well over the 1,000 signatures necessary to have the ballot language considered, DeWine claimed he could not certify the summary of the proposed constitutional amendment because the summary was too long and described impacts of the amendment not actually found in the amendment:
After reviewing the submission, I conclude that I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment for three reasons. First, the summary is longer than the text of the amendment… Second, the summary states that the amendment retains the rights contained in “Section 11 of Article XV for political subdivisions to not recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals.” However, the text of the amendment does not indicate that political subdivisions would retain these rights. Third, the summary states that the amendment retains “the portions of Title 31 that codifies this Amendment.” However, the text of the amendment does not contain any reference to Title 31.
DeWine is an ardent opponent of same-sex marriage, having co-sponsored a federal marriage amendment as a U.S. Senator in 2006. He also has endorsed Rick Santorum for president. James was not surprised by the rejection, and not deterred either, promising, “We are going to continue to circulate petitions to his desk.”
Meanwhile, Equality Ohio and GetEQUAL Ohio are planning the “largest illegal mass wedding ever held” in Cleveland on March 24. About a dozen clergy will marry more than 200 same-sex couples, even though their unions are not recognized. In addition to raising publicity about anti-gay discrimination, it will serve as an opportunity to collect signatures for additional petition efforts.