Press Room

January 22, 2004

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HRC Urges Ohio Governor to Veto Discriminatory Ohio Ban on Marriage and Marriage-Related Protections

GLBT Families Deserve Nothing Less than Equality Under the Law, Says HRC

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign decried the Senate passage of Ohio House Bill 272, a measure that not only prohibits marriages between same-sex couples but also precludes the "recognition or extension of the specific statutory benefits of a legal marriage to nonmarital relationships between persons of the same sex or different sexes." Gov. Bob Taft should be fully aware of the devastating effects this bill could have on Ohio families, says HRC.

"We strongly urge Governor Taft to veto this bill - a measure that will deny critical protections for thousands upon thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families in Ohio," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "Our families are your neighbors - working hard and paying taxes just like everybody else. We deserve nothing less than equality under the law and should never be put at risk by discriminatory laws."

According to a Jan. 21 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Attorney General Jim Petro, a Republican, said he opposed the bill, saying it was
"a little too broad" and "a little unfair."

"It's a sad day for Ohio, to write discrimination into the laws of our state," said Tim Downing, chair of Ohioans for Growth and Equality and HRC board of director. "Even the Attorney General of Ohio believes that this law is not necessary and seriously flawed. It's reprehensible that more public officials didn't join him in opposition to such a biased law."

Republican Gov. Bob Taft House has said he will support the measure, which passed the Senate Jan. 21 by a 18-15 vote and the House Jan. 21 by a 69-23 vote. The measure prevents state employees from ever receiving health insurance benefits for their unmarried partners - undoubtedly leading to more uninsured individuals in the state. Additionally, out-of-state same-sex couples who are both legal parents of their children may see these adoptions invalidated or not honored when they visit or move to Ohio. According to an analysis of the 2000 Census, every single county in Ohio is home to at least one same-sex couple and same-sex couples with children in Ohio are raising on the average of 1.79 children, while heterosexual couples are raising 1.93 children.

"The elected officials in Ohio should be protecting all families, not legislating out a group of us for discrimination under the law," added Jacques.

HRC has worked side-by-side with Ohioans for Growth and Equality since its inception in 2001, and has supported the group with over $10,000 in Equality Fund Grants as well as extensive research and organizing support. HRC staff worked alongside Ohioans for Growth and other state leaders in opposition to this measure.

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