The Lucas County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution in support of an effort to repeal Ohio's gay marriage ban.

Ohio's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment prevents the state from recognizing any union other than a heterosexual marriage.

“Equal protection under the law is a fundamental right of all citizens, and we must stand against discrimination and do what is right,” Carol Contrada, board president, told The Toledo Blade. “By supporting this amendment, I support the right of all families to be recognized and respected in Ohio.”

Commissioner Pete Gerken added: “I have been an advocate for civil rights for 50 years, and the fight for civil rights does not stop with gender, age, ability or race. Now we should extend those rights to marriage equality.”

The group FreedomOhio began its effort to repeal the amendment last year. The Ohio Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment would replace language in the Ohio Constitution excluding gay couples from marriage with inclusive language, thereby legalizing marriage equality in the state.

Ian James, a co-founder of FreedomOhio, said the group was “very proud to have their support.”

“We welcome them in being the first of many county commissioners to join this movement. This is a matter of family security. This is a matter of civil rights. This amendment is a matter of protecting and respecting religious freedom.”

James said that while his group will easily surpass the roughly 385,000 valid signatures needed by July 3 to qualify for this November's ballot, a decision to put the question before voters this year hinges on public support and available resources.

“It's not a matter of filing to come close,” he said. “It is a matter of filing and winning.”