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Ohio Supreme Court dismisses challenge by gay marriage opponents

Saturday, May 26, 2012
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court has dismissed a legal challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that would that would repeal the state’s existing ban on same-sex marriage.

The proposed amendment, filed by the Freedom to Marry coalition, would modify the Ohio Constitution to define marriage as “a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender.” The measure would also allow churches to refuse to perform or honor a same-sex marriage.

Opponents of the measure, the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, had sought to keep the repeal effort off the ballot, and claimed that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine shouldn’t have verified the proposed amendment’s summary.

The group claimed that the summary was “not a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment.”

In late April, DeWine filed a motion arguing that the Ohio Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction over the legal challenge by opponents of the same sex marriage measure.

“When somebody wants to put something on the ballot, it’s not a question of whether Mike Dewine likes it or doesn’t like it,” he told WSKU-TV.

“The question is: Is it a concise and accurate representation of what that ballot initiative would do. And our lawyers looked at it and said, ‘Yes it was,’” DeWine said.

With the court’s ruling this week, the measure has been cleared to appear on the statewide ballot.

The Freedom to Marry coalition must now gather 385,253 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters to put the amendment to a statewide vote in 2013.

In 2004, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

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