800+ People March for Marriage Equality in Columbus (Video + Pictures)

better fOver 800 people marched downtown Columbus on Saturday in an effort to bring attention to the injustice in the state of Ohio. People marched around the Columbus Commons for marriage equality, and collected signatures for the Freedom to Marry amendment. Currently, same-sex couples are denied the 1,138 marriage rights that opposite sex couples have available.  Ohio voters approved an anti-gay constitutional amendment banning marriage equality with 62 percent of the vote in favor in 2004.  New polling from the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio shows that 54 percent of Ohioans support the Freedom to Marry initiative to replace and repeal the anti-gay constitutional amendment. Ohioans and grassroots activists are seeking to overturn this grave injustice by placing the issue on the ballot.

This amendment would repeal and replace Section 11, Article XV of the Constitution to:

1. Allow two consenting adults freedom to enter into a marriage regardless of gender;
2. Give religious institutions freedom to determine whom to marry;
3. Give religious institutions protection to refuse to perform a marriage.

Since the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate are both controlled by Republicans, activists believe this is the quickest way to achieve full equality in Ohio. Ohio currently has no law or unclear laws then it comes to Marriage rights, Hospital visitation, Adoptions, Employment, Housing, Hate crimes, and laws against bullying in schools.

Ian James, FreedomOhio co-founder, issued the following statement after the Columbus Dispatch published results of a Saperstein Poll that shows 54 percent of voters now support our Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment.

“We are heartened and affirmed by today’s poll published in the Columbus Dispatch because we have witnessed the seismic shift in public opinion toward marriage equality while working for more than a year to have a conversation with Ohioans and collect signatures in all 88 counties,” James said. “It is important to note that the Dispatch poll was conducted prior to Republican Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s announcement that he was switching his position and supporting the freedom to marry,” James said. “This is a civil rights issue. A loving couple should be able to get legally married and enjoy the same family security as any other committed couple. At the same time, our amendment protects religious freedom because houses of worship are free to choose whether to recognize or not recognize, marry or not marry, a same-gender couple.”

Executive Director and CEO of FreedomOhio Mary Jo Kilroy released the following statement:

“Poll numbers released today by the Columbus Dispatch show that the 54% of the voters in Ohio support Freedom Ohio’s proposed constitutional amendment. These numbers show that we can and will get discrimination out of the Ohio Constitution. There is also opportunity to increase the support for marriage equality, and it is noteworthy that this poll was taken before Sen. Portman announced his support. As more members of the LGBT community tell their story and let their family and friends know why marriage matters to them, the greater the support the measure will receive.”

576071_10151527292309491_467802380_nOn March 15th, Senator Rob Portman (R) announced that he is in favor of same-sex marriage and would support overturning the current law banning marriage equality.

Last week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) confirmed that he opposes both marriage and civil unions for gay couples, both denied under Ohio law and prohibited under Ohio’s constitution. Kasich had previously stated his support for civil unions in the State of Ohio before backtracking.

Readers are urged to politely call Governor Kasich and urge him to support marriage equality at 614-466-3555.

The U.S. Supreme Court will listen to the arguments Tuesday about whether DOMA is constitutional. The Justices will may also decide to reinstate same-sex marriage in California.

Over 800 Ohioans marched around Columbus Commons for marriage equality, and collected signatures for a Freedom to Marry amendment:

Demonstrators chant for Marriage Equality and Ian James, the co-founder of FreedomOhio, speaks about the historical shift in public opinion across the country. He spoke about the turning of support for marriage equality in the biggest shift in civil rights history in the United States.  Ian wants people to know that the fight does not end with a Supreme Court decision. Members of the group FreedomOhio said the state’s constitution needs to change, and going to other states to marry is not the answer.

Ian James speaks about Republican Senator Rob Portman’s endorsement of Marriage Equality in Ohio. He hands the megaphone to Joshua Snyder-Hill, husband of Steve Snyder-Hill. Steve was booed at the Republican debates in 2011 after asking a question about “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Joshua Snyder-Hill speaks about his plan to take 25 couples to Washington D.C. when they want to get married on their own terms. Steve Snyder-Hill speaks about standing up for what you believe in and recruiting your friends and family to join the movement for equality. He is also involved in a federal lawsuit for service members to get the same equal rights. As it stands gay military members serving their country will not get a notification of the death of a spouse because their love is not recognized under state  law.

Slideshow of pictures from the rally and march in Columbus, Ohio on March 23, 2013.

Highlighted Quote!

“Ohio is my state. I’m going to stay here and fight for Ohio. And hopefully here soon, we can overturn DOMA and have marriage equality federally,” said Morgan Bonney, FreedomOhio.

 

 

Logan White

Logan White is an LGBT activist and writer, whose work has been featured in his local newspaper and various websites online. White lives in Ohio and has attended many rallies throughout the state in an effort to bring about equality for LGBT people. He is a supporter of FreedomOhio, a grassroots organization that is part of the movement to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage in the state.

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