Gay marriage supporters in Ohio say
they have collected enough signatures to put the issue on next year's
FreedomOhio co-founder Ian James said
at a news conference in Columbus that his group has collected more
than the 385,247 signatures needed to reach the ballot box next year,
though he refused to reveal the actual number.
FreedomOhio's proposed constitutional
amendment targets for repeal a 2004 voter-approved amendment
prohibiting the state from recognizing any union other than a
heterosexual marriage. Passage would also allow gay couples to marry
The group also released findings from a
Public Policy Polling survey it commissioned which shows opposition
to same-sex marriage in Ohio at 48 percent and support at 47 percent.
Support increased to 56 percent when pollsters explained that the
group's proposed constitutional amendment exempted religious
“Ohio is ready for marriage
equality,” James asserted.
Mike Premio, executive director of
Equality Ohio, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate, disagreed,
WVIZ that next year is too early for Ohio. The group launched an
educational campaign earlier this year to set the stage for a
“Why Marriage Matters Ohio is
actually working with leaders in the national and state LGBT
community and our allies – to people who have experienced winning
marriage equality in other states and those who are experienced on
the ground in Ohio in issue advocacy – to come up with a consensus
opinion on how to proceed,” Premio said.
James said that his group's goal was to
collect 1 million signatures before the July 2 deadline.