Positions pro and con were starkly drawn - through interruptions and raised voices - during a discussion on The Editors television program of state Issue 1, an amendment to the Ohio Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Speaking as an Issue 1 supporter, the Rev. Tony Scott, pastor of Cathedral of Praise, cited the Book of Genesis.
"A man and a woman were appropriately plumbed by God for procreation," Mr. Scott said. "That's what marriage really is all about. And to talk about marriage between two men and two women is unnatural and absolutely ridiculous because the seedbed of society is traditional marriage."
Alan Melamed, campaign manager for the anti-Issue 1 group, said that such statements are irrelevant to the issue on the ballot, the second sentence of which has been the crux of opponents' argument against Issue 1: "This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effect of marriage."
Mr. Melamed said marriage in Ohio is defined as being a union of a man and a woman, and that is not challenged.
"Whether this passes or fails, the definition of marriage in Ohio remains unchanged," Mr. Melamed said. He said the second sentence would prohibit government from providing benefits to any unmarried couples, whether opposite sex or same sex.
The governor, Ohio's U.S. senators, and the attorney general have stated their opposition, he said, because "at best the second sentence is vague and ambiguous, and the only jobs it's going to create are for lawyers and judges The reality is [Issue 1] has all kinds of unintended consequences that have nothing to do with gays marrying. That happens to be a red herring."
Mr. Scott referred to "the radical homosexual agenda," which he said was trying to purge traditional marriage.
"What they really want is for two men, two women or three men, three women to have either bisexual relationships or homosexual or lesbian relationships, and they want to constitute that as a family in order that they may pick up marriage benefits from the state, from the government, from corporate America, or wherever," he said.
The men were questioned by Thomas Walton, vice president-editor of The Blade. The Editors will be broadcast at 8:30 tonight on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.