Ohio might replace outgoing Republican
Senator George Voinovich with a gay marriage backer. The move would
mark a turning point for Ohio which passed one of the toughest gay
marriage bans in the country five years ago.
Frontrunners vying for the Democratic
ticket – Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Secretary of State
Jennifer Brunner – both back gay marriage.
Writing at the Huffington
Post, Brunner said: “It is time to make that right available to
all American couples, whether they are heterosexual or same-sex.
This is a family values issue.”
Fisher's support while softer is a flip
into the marriage equality column. The fifty-seven-year-old recently
told Cleveland daily The Plain Dealer that “the government
should be focused on creating jobs, lowering health care costs and
moving us to alternative energy, instead of trying to stop
individuals who want to be in a committed relationship and take
responsibility for each other.”
In contrast, Fisher has previously said
he backed civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, not marriage.
“I am in favor of civil unions, but I
have questions about marriage,” Fisher told gay weekly The
Gay People's Chronicle in
And in a 2006 Project Vote Smart
Survey, Fisher said he did not believe the Ohio government should
recognize gay marriage.
Voinovich, who is not seeking
re-election, ranks low on gay and lesbian issues. His current HRC
score improved – from zero to 60 – after he flipped his position
on support for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief,
PEPFAR, but remains doggedly opposed to gay marriage and adding
sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes.
On the other hand, Ohio's junior
senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, is a gay ally.