President’s Gay Marriage Statement Draws Ohio Reaction

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Public opinion remains divided on question of same sex marriage(Photo: flickr)
Public opinion remains divided on question of same sex marriage(Photo: flickr)

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.”

  • Mtgphd

    People distort the meaning of “traditional marriage.” Nuclear marriage, two people, a man and a woman as one little family, living in one little house, with no extended family or compound, is relatively recent., historically. Traditionally, and biblically, marriage was between a man and several women, for example. In most cultures in the world, polygamy was a common practice. And women were property. Only very recently did the Mormon church rule against polygamy. African Americans opposed to marriage equality, must know that until very recently, it was illegal for black people to marry or have sex with white people. Laws that criminalized miscegenation (intermarriage) were wtith the US since the beginning and not until 1967 were such laws called Unconstitutional. President Obama’s parents and some dear friends of mine would have been declared criminals and penalized, had they presented themselves as married in those states having those laws. Why, of all people, would African Americans want to control marriage equality of LGBTs? Why should LGBTs be treated as slaves in the US in 2012?