According to a press release for the organization, Freedom to Marry Ohio is a coalition of past and present elected officials, candidates, community and business leaders who are advocating for Marriage Equality in Ohio.The organization is led by Statewide Co-Chairs Tim Hagan (former Cuyahoga County Commissioner) and Andrew Ginther (President of Columbus City Council), and John O’Grady (Franklin County Commissioner). You can find out more by visiting their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.
As their first major project their gathering signatures to have same-sex marriage added to the 2012 ballot. They need 385,245 to make it happen.
The first big step to hitting that number is a goal of 1,000 signature by Wednesday, Feb. 22, which would validate the petition with the Ohio Ballot Board, said Ian James, Freedom to Marry Ohio’s volunteer outreach advocate. If the 285,000 signatures aren’t acquired by the July deadline the organization would be forced to shoot for the July 2013 deadline for the 2013 ballot.
It seems a major component of Freedom to Marry Ohio’s strategy is to included specific wording in the Ohio Constitution that would legalize marriages between same-sex partners, but while giving religious institutions the right to refuse performing same-sex marriage ceremonies. A long time argument for many against marriage equality has been that such laws would force churches to marry gay couples, thus impending or their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.
If added to the ballot the decision for voters would be to amend the current same-sex marriage ban to read as follows:
In the State of Ohio and its political subdivisions, marriage shall be a union of two consenting adults and no religious institution shall be required to perform or recognize a marriage.
You can sign the petition at Mary Jo Kilroy‘s (who is currently running for Congress) Campaign Headquarters at 1349 E. Broad Street, Columbus. James also said there are now 200 volunteers committed to helping reach the petition’s goals. So get your pens ready!