A coalition supporting same-sex marriage announced a new initiative yesterday in Ohio’s three largest cities.
A couple dozen supporters gathered outside Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland, as organizers announced the creation of “Why Marriage Matters Ohio”. Its goal is to educate state residents on marriage equality, and help build support to overturn Ohio’s ban on gay marriage. The ban was approved by nearly two-thirds of voters in 2004.
Among the speakers was Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. He says he’s seeing growing support for same-sex marriages, even among conservatives, an indirect reference to his Republican colleague, Rob Portman, who publicly changed his stance earlier this year after his own son came out.
"It’s clear to me that people in this state understand that marriage matters to all Ohio families, equality no one should have to give permission for someone to love another," says Brown.
Another speaker was Dawn Hanson of the Fairmount Group, a marketing and communications firm in Cleveland Heights. She says legalizing same-sex marriage makes smart business sense.
“We need to be able to attract and retain talented people to state. We need to be able to attract and innovative businesses to our state. And I am absolutely convinced if we don’t do that, Ohio is going to lose out," says Hanson.
The initiative is backed by Equality Ohio, the ACLU of Ohio, the national group Freedom to Marry, and the Human Rights Campaign. It’s billed as a grassroots effort pushing face-to-face conversations among residents.
A recent poll shows Ohioans split on whether or not same-sex marriage should be allowed in the state.