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Ohio Same-Sex Marriage Amendment (2013)

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The Ohio Same-Sex Marriage Amendment was a proposed initiated constitutional amendment in the state of Ohio. The measure did not appear in the statewide general election on November 5, 2013. The measure would have overturned a ban on same-sex marriage in the state. According to reports, the measure was introduced by Freedom to Marry Ohio, lead by former U.S. Representative Mary Jo Kilroy.[1][2]

Text of measure

Title

The following is the submitted title of the initiative:[3]

The Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment

Summary

The following is the official summary of the initiative filed with the Ohio Secretary of State:

This amendment would repeal and replace Section 11, Article XV of the Constitution to:

1. Allow two consenting adults freedom to enter into a marriage regardless of gender;

2. Give religious institutions freedom to determine whom to marry;

3. Give religious institutions protection to refuse to perform a marriage.

Support

The following is information obtained from the supporting side of the measure:

  • Tim Hagan, co-chairman of the campaign to place the measure on the ballot stated: "I don’t know how one human being can look at another human being and say, ‘You don’t have the same rights.’ I have a sister who’s gay. I have close friends who are gay. But this is not just a gay issue. This is an issue for all of us who believe strongly in human rights.”[4]
  • The president of the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP, George Forbes, said in a statement about the measure: "Not since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has there been a more important step to achieving equality for all Americans."[5]
  • According to Mary Jo Kilroy, "We’re seeing a seismic shift in voters’ attitudes all over the country. It’s wrong to treat so many Ohioans as second-class citizens...to deny loving couples the right to marry and enter into committed relationships and raise a family. People should not have to face this kind of discrimination every day."[2]

Opposition

The following is information that was obtained from the opposing side of the proposal:

Opponents

  • Citizens for Community Values
  • Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage

Tactics and strategies

  • The Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court, challenging the same-sex marriage amendment's summary language.

Polls

See also: Polls, 2013 ballot measures
  • A poll of Ohio adults conducted by Saperstein Associates from March 5 to 10, and commissioned by the Columbus Dispatch, reported that 54% were in favor of the amendment, 40% opposed it, and 5% remained undecided. The study surveyed 1,003 randomly selected Ohio adults and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.[6]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
March 5-10, 2013 Saperstein Associates 54% 40% 5% 1,003


Lawsuit

See also: List of ballot measure lawsuits in 2012

State ex rel. Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage v. DeWine

On April 10, the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage filed a lawsuit with the Ohio Supreme Court, challenging the same-sex marriage amendment's summary language. The group argued (1) that the summary is too long to qualify as a summary and (2) that the summary misrepresents the amendment. On April 27, defendent and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit.[7]

During the week of May 2, 2012, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine requested that the Ohio Supreme Court dismiss the lawsuit, stating that the court has no jurisdiction over the pre-certification process for a proposed constitutional amendment.[8]

On May 25, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit. According to reports, court justices voted 5-2 to dismiss the case. Justices Terrence O'Donnell and Robert Cupp were the two justices who voted to not dismiss the lawsuit.[9]

  • Documents for the case can be found here.

Path to the ballot

Supporters of the proposal had until July 3, 2013, to turn in the required 385,247 signatures in order to place the measure on the ballot. Before circulation began, the Ohio Attorney General first had to approve the measure's language as well as verify at least 1,000 required preliminary signatures gathered by proposal proponents.

On March 9, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the petition by Freedom to Marry Ohio. Attorney General DeWine said he could not approve the ballot language because the summary was too long and misrepresented the amendment in question.[1]

Then on March 26, 2012, supporters re-submitted the language, as well as more than 1,000 preliminary signatures to the attorney general's office.[10]

On April 5, the Ohio Ballot Board approved the revised ballot language.[11]

According to DeWine: "Without passing on the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred...I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment"[12]

A call to the Secretary of State's office on July 8, 2013, confirmed that supporters of the measure did not turn in signatures by the required deadline of July 3, 2013.

Similar measures

See also

References