Nine Ohio mayors have endorsed an effort to legalize gay marriage in Ohio, Cleveland's Gay People's Chronicle reported.

Ian James, who headed the group which led the unsuccessful 2004 campaign to defeat Ohio's constitutional amendment barring the state from recognizing gay and lesbian couples with marriage or civil unions, is working to put the issue back on the ballot.

James has submitted language for a petition to the Ohio attorney general's office. Supporters would need to collect 385,245 valid signatures from at least half of Ohio's 88 counties to qualify for the ballot.

“We will absolutely get this on the ballot,” James told WKSU radio. “Our volunteer base has grown 11 people every hour on average. … The energy is behind this issue. We have gay and straight allies. There are leaders of all stripes coming on board. This is a broad-based effort and it's going to make it to the ballot.”

On Valentine's Day, Ohio's largest gay rights advocate, Equality Ohio, announced the formation of Freedom to Marry – Ohio, which is co-chaired by four elected officials. Nine Ohio mayors have backed the effort, including Mayors David Berger of Lima, Michael Coleman of Columbus, Sara Drew of Stow, Frank Jackson of Cleveland, Edward Kelley of Cleveland Heights, Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Gary Norton of East Cleveland, Don Plusquellic of Akron and Mike Summers of Lakewood.