Toledo Council President Joe McNamara has endorsed an effort to repeal Ohio's gay marriage ban.

Marriage equality supporters earlier this year began an effort to repeal Ohio's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. The group Freedom to Marry Ohio is collecting signatures to put the question on next year's ballot.

McNamara, a Democrat and a possible 2013 mayoral candidate, announced his support last Tuesday, saying that the issue of marriage equality was the civil rights issue of this era.

“This is a thoughtfully crafted amendment to the Ohio Constitution that gives a loving couple, regardless of gender, the freedom to marry,” McNamara is quoted as saying by the Toledo Blade. “At the same time, the amendment ensures religious institutions have the freedom to choose to recognize or not recognize same-gender marriages.”

In 2007, McNamara introduced the city's domestic partner registry.

Freedom to Marry Ohio co-founder Ian James said the “tide has turned when it comes to the issue of marriage equality.”

“When people look at the amendment and examine what's in their hearts, the natural conclusion is that this is a matter of social justice,” he said.