Head of group that led efforts to ban gay marriage to retire


SHARONVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The head of an Ohio-based conservative group who has been an outspoken foe of same-sex marriage and other gay rights issues plans to retire following the November elections.

Phil Burress told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/29ylfSa) he plans to spend time with his family after leaving his position as president of Citizens for Community Values, based in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville.

“It’s time to move on,” Burress said. “I’m 74 and in great health. About a year and half ago, after praying about it, my wife and I decided this was the right thing to do.”

Burress spearheaded a campaign in 2004 to ban same-sex marriage in Ohio. The constitutional amendment was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2015.

Burress said his retiring is “not about the fact I lost the fight” over same-sex marriage.

Burress — who has admitted that he was once addicted to pornography — began volunteering with the group more than three decades ago. He joined its board of directors and became president in 1991.

He said the group has helped pornography addicts and some involved in human trafficking. It also has helped people “walk away from homosexuality,” Burress said.

Burress will be replaced by Aaron Baer, a policy adviser to Arizona’s attorney general.

Baer graduated from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in 2009. He plans to move to Ohio with his family in September.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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