Gay Marriage Activists Will Wait Despite Ballot Board Ruling

The proposed amendment is not related to a federal judge's recent decision ordering Ohio authorities to recognize the marriages of gay couples performed in other states.(Photo: Jason Pier (Flickr))
The proposed amendment is not related to a federal judge's recent decision ordering Ohio authorities to recognize the marriages of gay couples performed in other states.(Photo: Jason Pier (Flickr))

It’s very doubtful there will be an issue on the ballot this fall to allow Ohioans to vote to overturn the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Ian James with the group FreedomOhio says there’s not enough time to get the necessary signatures to put the issue before voters this November.

James on Tuesday said he will not put an issue on the ballot this fall to allow Ohioans to overturn the gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2004.

It’s good news to the state’s largest gay rights advocacy group, Equality Ohio. For the last year, Equality Ohio has been urging James to wait, saying this fall is not the time to put the issue before voters.

But it’s not just the timing.

There are questions about whether the former petition that was circulated was worded properly to allow religious freedom. James changed the petition language, and the ballot board just approved it.

But James says it won’t make the ballot this year.

“It would be very difficult to get the signatures needed for this new petition that allows for the freedom to marry and religious freedom because it the time frame is so tight,” James says.

“Plus we want to reach out and build consensus with the in state LGBT groups and allies to make sure this is the right time, the right issue to move things forward. You know, this is going to take a lot of time and a lot of money to win. So we are going to take a step back and make sure we are doing this the right way at the right time.”

In order to put the issue before voters this fall, James would have needed to collect more than 385 thousand signatures from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties on these new petitions by July second.

James says he’s now hoping to try to put the issue before voters next year….or in the fall of 2016.

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