Several hundred people gathered Tuesday night in east Columbus to protest a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
President’s Gay Marriage Statement Draws Ohio Reaction
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President Obama’s unequivocal support for gay marriage is expected to give the issue a more prominent role in this fall’s election.
Ohio is considered a swing state and currently has a constitutional ban on gay marriage. A spokeswoman for the advocacy group, Equality Ohio, Kim Welter, characterizes the President’s statement as “political bravery.”
“But I think, you know what you’re seeing is that people in the political world are realizing that the shift is more towards most of America being supportive,” Welter said.
Ohio voters banned gay marriage in 2004 by constitutional amendment. Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values predicts Mr. Obama’s statement will cost him Ohio in the November election, especially if voters like Brittany Fitzgerald of Columbus turn out at the polls. Fitzgerald says her views on gay marriage are shaped by her pastor at a south-side Columbus church.
“It comes up a lot. Our beliefs are that marriage is made for a man and a woman,” Fitzgerald said.
President’s view could determine balloting
A group of African-American pastors met before responding to the President’s comments. Many in their congregations oppose gay marriage, a view that parallels statements by Republican candidate Mitt Romney who says that marriage is between a man and a woman. Ohio State University political scientist Nathaniel Swigger said gay marriage could possibly determine Ohio’s presidential balloting.
“I think Obama has made it pretty clear that he’s willing to campaign on social issues. I think Romney is more inclined to focus on the economy. It will sort of depend on which one of them wins that little priming war,” Swigger said.
Swigger says candidates for U.S. senate in Ohio also have divergent views on the issue. Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown says lesbians, gays, transgender and bi-sexual individuals “should have the same rights enjoyed by all Americans.”
Republican opponent Josh Mandel says he believes in “traditional marriage between one man and one woman.”