A new educational campaign aimed at changing attitudes in Ohio kicked off today with news conferences in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus Ohio. The ACLU, Equality Ohio, The Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry, have joined together to form Why Marriage Matters Ohio. The coalition of marriage equality proponents will try to improve the poll numbers of Ohioans who back same-sex marriage ahead of introducing a ballot measure to overturn Ohio’s ten-year old DOMA amendment to the state constitution.
Senator Sherrod Brown made a statement of support at the Cleveland location, and Democratic Rep. Nickie Antonio, Ohio’s first openly gay lawmaker led the Columbus event. John Arthur and James Obergefell, the couple who recently won a court case to have the state of Ohio recognize their marriage made an appearance at the rally in Cincinnati.
Not in attendance was another of Ohio’s major players, Freedom Ohio. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, they were invited to join Why Marriage Matters Ohio but declined. Freedom Ohio is committed to putting marriage equality on next year’s ballot, a move Why Marriage Matters Ohio thinks is too soon.
Cleveland.com explained that Why Marriage Matters Ohio thinks a failed bid to rescind Ohio’s DOMA amendment in 2014 would be a major setback to the cause. They declined to give reporters a target date for such legislation.
Freedom Ohio remains committed to collecting one million signature to accompany their filing for a 2014 ballot initiative. They say they have already have hundreds of thousands toward that goal.
A recent poll found Ohio voters evenly split on same-sex marriage 47% – 47%.
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