The Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper, believes 2013 is too soon to repeal the state's gay marriage ban.

Ohio's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004.

An effort to repeal the amendment and legalize gay nuptials in Ohio began last year.

Ian James, the co-founder of Freedom to Marry Ohio, told the paper that he is “99.8 percent certain” that the group will succeed in putting the issue on the ballot – perhaps as early as this November.

The Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin wrote on Saturday that the effort “risks getting ahead of itself.”

Larkin cited lukewarm support from the Ohio Democratic Party and Equality Ohio, the state's largest gay rights advocate, before concluding: “2013 is probably at least a year too early to make that happen.”

James disagreed: “Telling gay and lesbian couples they have to wait is not a good place to start. It's a chicken-and-egg approach to politics. This [the gay marriage prohibition] is hurting our state. It's hurting our economy. And there's something fundamentally wrong with telling religious institutions who they can and can't marry.”