Ohio Gay Rights Community Encouraged By Court Rulings - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Ohio Gay Rights Community Encouraged By Court Rulings

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Ohio still defines marriage as between a man and a woman following a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The state prohibits same sex marriage both in statute and in a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2004.
The Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act giving the nation's legally married gay couples equal federal footing with all other married Americans.
Ohio State University law professor Marc Spindler said the ruling was more far-reaching than anticipated.

"The basis for its (the court's) decision is grounded in principles of equality,  that same sex relationships are just like their cross sex counterparts," Spindler said. "And the reasoning, of course, not only applies to the federal defense of marriage act but to state bans on same sex marriage - that's the surprising part."
Charles Tassell,  a lobbyist for the Cincinnati based Citizens for Community Values, said despite the court rulings, nothing changes in Ohio.

"Both (Justices) Kennedy and Roberts, in their statements, said this is an issue for the states to handle," Tassell said. "This is an issue that should be debated in the states and in 2004, the issue was settled by 62 percent that marriage is defined as one man and one woman."
Elyzabeth Holford of Equality Ohio said say the Supreme Court rulings give supporters of same sex marriage added momentum.

"One of the things that is a clear path is to put together a constitutional amendment process that actually repeals both the defense of marriage act and repeals our marriage ‘inequality amendment' that we currently have in Ohio and then replaces  that with language in an amendment that creates the right to marry in Ohio."

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