Skip to main content

Supporters of a ballot initiative in Ohio are no strangers to opposition in their quest to make the Buckeye State the nation's first to overturn its own constitutional ban on same sex marriage. But this is the first time they've had to square off against other same sex marriage proponents.

Click past the orange Squiggle of Squabble to read about Ohio's most surprising gay rights struggle.

Today's New York Times covers the internal battle among supporters of same sex marriage as to the best strategy to accomplish the goal that unites them.

Ian James, executive director of Freedom Ohio, the group promoting a referendum this year, said they've already collected far more than the 386,000 signatures needed to put the matter on the ballot.

But the more established gay marriage organizations urge caution. “All the facts show 2014 is not the year,” said Michael Premo, campaign manager of a coalition, Why Marriage Matters Ohio, that opposes the vote. “If this amendment goes forward and fails, which we expect it will, it will be a boost in momentum for opponents of marriage equality.” Evan Wolfson, president of the national advocacy group Freedom to Marry, agrees.“We believe that if you’re going to put yourself you want to make sure you can win.”

Supporters such as Mr. James believe that the initiative will drive voter turnout in districts where incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich is vulnerable. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted just last week shows the race tightening, with Kasich leading Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald by only 43 percent to 38 percent.

James believes his more established colleagues are overly fearful. "These folks are unfortunately knee-deep in a negative quagmire,” said James. “We don’t make progress by sowing fear into the hearts of our biggest supporters.”

After a recent string of favorable court rulings in Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia, where judges overturned same-sex marriage bans, many gay rights advocates see their best opportunity for victory in the courts — or perhaps in the electorate of 2016, where voter turnout will likely increase because of the presidential election.

They may have a point. A Cleveland couple of 28 years who married in New York two years ago, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the same sex ban because it denies them the ability to enroll their 7-year-old daughter in an Obamacare Family Plan. They filed briefs February 18, 2014, and the case will be hear by Bush '43 appointee Christopher Boyko in Cleveland.

Ohio was one of 11 states that passed same sex marriage bans (by double digits) in 2004. But even Republicans concede the battleground has changed.

“There’s been a fundamental political shift between 2004 and 2014,” said Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who consults with the American Civil Liberties Union on the politics of same-sex marriage.

But other Republicans believe it will energize the conservative base. “I think there’s great peril in them putting this on the ballot for their whole ticket,” said Matt Borges, executive director of the Ohio Republican Party. “You may awaken the sleeping giant.”

One thing is clear: all eyes will be on Ohio in the coming months to see how the strategizing and prognosticating will play out.

Originally posted to LGBT Rights are Human Rights on Sun Feb 23, 2014 at 06:33 PM PST.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community, Milk Men And Women, and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site