Toledo Council President Joe McNamara today threw his support behind a statewide drive to allow same-sex marriage in Ohio.
Mr. McNamara, a Democrat and potential candidate for mayor, said, “Marriage equality is this generation’s civil rights moment and I strongly endorse the Freedom To Marry.”
The referendum signatures are being gathered by FreedomOhio Inc., a Columbus group formed solely to promote marriage equality. If the question goes on a statewide ballot, voters would decide whether to repeal and replace the 2004 same-sex marriage ban that was approved by voters.
The new amendment would allow any two adults who aren't nearer of kin than second cousins or already married to marry in a civil ceremony. It would also provide that no religious body would be required to perform or recognize marriages they don't approve of.
“This is a thoughtfully-crafted amendment to the Ohio Constitution that gives a loving couple, regardless of gender, the freedom to marry. At the same time, the amendment ensures religious institutions have the freedom to choose to recognize or not recognize same-gender marriages,” Mr. McNamara said.
Ian James, FreedomOhio co-founder, thanked Mr. McNamara for endorsing marriage equality.
“All couples, regardless of gender, deserve the right to marry and to ensure their family’s security. We are grateful to Toledo Council President McNamara for standing up for civil rights, family security, and religious freedom in Ohio,” Mr. James said.
Mr. James said the language of the proposed state Constitutional amendment is based on the amendments that have been adopted in the states of Maine, Maryland, and Washington.
He said the petition drive is aimed at putting the question on the November, 2013, ballot.