If government wants to help — try asking how

April 3, 2012

Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Supporters of a measure that would allow gay marriage in Ohio were cleared by state officials Tuesday to continue their ballot effort to amend the state’s constitution.

The Freedom to Marry coalition wants to repeal a 2004 state constitutional amendment that says Ohio only recognizes a marriage between a man and a woman. The group’s proposal would replace that amendment with one that allows two consenting adults to enter into marriage regardless of their sex.

Under the proposed measure, no religious institution would be forced to marry couples or recognize their marriages.

Attorney General Mike DeWine on Tuesday certified the coalition’s amendment summary as “fair and truthful.” He had rejected its summary phrasing last month.

The Ohio Ballot Board must also review the proposal before the group can begin gathering the roughly 385,000 signatures needed to put the measure before voters in November 2013. The panel plans to meet Thursday to discuss the amendment.

Freedom to Marry organizers say more than 1,400 volunteers are ready to begin circulating petitions.

The campaign also received a boost on Monday when the president of the Cleveland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People threw his support behind the amendment effort.

“Not since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has there been a more important step to achieving equality for all Americans,” President George Forbes said in a statement.