Marriage Equality Education Campaign Launched In Ohio

By
Allen Henry

Dateline
Updated Mon, Sep 9, 2013 6:11 pm

Ohio LGBT leaders and community members gathered in Ohio's three largest cities today to announce a new educational campaign for marriage equality in the buckeye state. 

Why Marriage Matters Ohio was launched simultaneously at a private residence in Cincinnati, in front of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland and on the steps of the Statehouse in Columbus. 
 
Elyzabeth Holford, executive director of Equality Ohio, led the event in Columbus and spoke on the legal importance of marriage equality. 
 
“There are couples in Ohio living in legal limbo. It’s time to change that," Holford said, "Why Marriage Matters Ohio is part of our roadmap to fairness and dignity for all Ohioans.”
 
The campaign launches just a week after poll numbers revealed the issue being evenly divided amongst Ohio voters. 
 
FreedomOhio is currently working to bring a measure to the ballot in 2014 that would overturn Ohio's gay marriage ban but despite her support for them, Holford seemed skeptical of the effort citing the recent polling data. 
 
"We are grateful for the effort in putting together, and getting out there and working on a petition effort." Holford said, "At the same time, what we know from just last week from the survey, we know the numbers in Ohio just aren't strong enough yet."
 
That's where the newly launched campaign comes in. 
 
Why Marriage Matters Ohio is designed to showcase Ohio LGBT couples and their familes to the state. 
 
The launch brought together a wide variety of people from different groups including commmunity, business, and religious leaders. 
 
Reverand Tim Ehrends of the First Congregational Church in Columbus spoke on how the issue is having a negative effect on the state.
 
"I have been doing weddings for men and men and women and women for over twenty years now....There are those who I have performed ceremonies for who have left Ohio because they do choose to adopt and beacuse they do want to be recognized legally," Ehrends said.  
 
Lawmakers also joined the launch including Ohio's first "out" elected state official Representative Nikki Antonio in Columbus and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in Cleveland.
 
“All Americans should able to marry the person they love, and they should be able celebrate that love in Ohio," Brown said, "Full rights should not vary by geographical lines. Why Marriage Matters Ohio will bring this issue of equal rights to the forefront.”
 
Despite announcing his support for marriage equality in March, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) was not a part of today's announcement. 
 
Portman, who had previously opposed gay marriage, reversed his position this March after his son Will revealed he was gay. 
 
Holford indicated the campaign reached out as it had with Brown but was told Portman couldn't join them today. 
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