News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Knight Foundation

Metro RTA

Don Drumm Studios


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Politics


Ohio gay rights organizations argue over timing of a marriage amendment
One organization wants it on the ballot by 2014, others are saying to wait
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 

A spat over when, not whether, to put an amendment before voters legalizing same-sex marriage in Ohio may be overshadowing the amendment itself. The debate is getting personal and nasty.

LISTEN: KASLER on GAY RIGHTS

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:50)


For a time, the big news for several gay rights activists was that a Wednesday meeting in Columbus marked the largest-ever gathering of national marriage equality leaders. Fred Sainz is with the Human Rights Campaign, which has been involved in several same-sex marriage ballot issues that have been approved by voters and has been watching the battleground state of Ohio.

“When that meeting concluded, there were zero decisions that had been reached in terms of when this would be on the ballot,” Sainz says.

A matter of time 
But not long after that meeting, the head of an Ohio-based group that has been gathering signatures to put a same-sex marriage amendment before voters issued a news release, saying it will be on the ballot next year. Ian James says he was speaking only for his group Freedom Ohio.

“No one else is in charge of that campaign," James says. "We want to move forward beyond ’13 and into 2014. And that’s what we said. We also said we were glad to meet with other LGBT leaders around the country to talk about marriage equality.”

There’s been a struggle between James and Freedom Ohio and Ohio’s leading gay rights group, Equality Ohio. James has wanted the amendment on the ballot soon, saying polls show it has support, and has recruited some high-profile Democrats to help. Equality Ohio preferred to wait, noting that voters approved an amendment defining marriage as only between one man and one woman less than 10 years ago – an amendment James was involved in trying to defeat.

It should be noted that 2014 is a big year for statewide and Congressional elections. National groups say they have been careful in picking the right time to approach voters, since these campaigns are expensive and exhausting. So Sainz says they felt betrayed by James’ press release, and felt he was trying to force them into supporting an issue next year.

“What Ian did was not only completely inappropriate, but it was not the way to build a spirit of trust or support or cooperation," Sainz says. "We consider it the very walking definition of unethical behavior.”

James says he was just stating that his campaign will move toward next year’s ballot, with or without the support of national gay-rights groups.

“There’s no strong-arming of groups from Washington, D.C. to being involved in an Ohio campaign," James says. "This is about Ohio. This is about Ohioans and Ohioans are going to address this issue because we’re the ones that don’t have the rights. And frankly, I think it’s unfortunate that anybody would suggest that we just continue to wait until the quintessential 'right time' arrives.”

Divide or outlier? 
But Sainz says this does not mean that the gay rights community is divided – in fact, he says there is unanimity here.

“Every organization is aligned on one side of the issue," Sainz says. "It’s Ian who’s the outlier. He’s clearly out to represent whatever selfish interest that he may have, and that he is not acting in the best interest of gay and lesbian Ohioans.”

James does not have much of a response to the words directed at him personally, but deflects back to the campaign that he says is still looking to the 2014 ballot.

“The reality is we’re going to keep pushing forward," Jmaes says. "We’re going to have a positive conversation. There’s no need for name-calling and we’re just going to keep on moving forward in a positive way to bring about marriage equality for all Ohioans.”

The latest Quinnipiac poll in Ohio on same-sex marriage was in April. It shows Ohioans are leaning toward it 48 percent to 44 percent, but just four months earlier 47 percent were opposed and 45 percent supported it.

Listener Comments:

Ian James and his group are jumping the gun and acting selfishly IMO. Timing IS everything on an issue. Put it on the ballot BEFORE there's multiple polls showing AT LEAST 58-60%, and they run the risk of having the issue shot down and not come up again for another decade! Wait two more years, a measly 24 more months, to 2016 to shore up more support and money to get it passed once and for all.


Posted by: TBC (Wooster) on June 12, 2013 4:06AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

Crisis looms in filling aviation industry jobs in Ohio and the nation
I listened to this story yesterday morning on the radio and just want to add this comment. My son went to school to train as an air traffic controller, and gra...

Cuyahoga Valley National Park considers fire to fight invasives
I'm for the controlled burn. There are not enough people (myself included) who volunteer for the removal of invasive plant species. Therefore, another solution ...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University