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Ohio Right to Life chapters make gay-marriage opposition a mission
Sen. Portman's switch on gay marriage costs him Cleveland and Lake County's support

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Ohio's Sen. Rob Portman, speaking at last year's Republican National Convention, has had strong anti-abortion support. But two Ohio Right to Life chapters say his change on gay marriage was a deal breaker.
Courtesy of M.L.Schultze
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Another Right to Life chapter in Ohio is making opposition to same-sex marriage a core part of its mission. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on what some see as a change of course and others see as a logical extension.

LISTEN: Right to Life chapters, gay marriage and the mission

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Lake County’s Right to Life chapter has joined its neighbor in Cleveland in amending their mission statements to include opposition to gay marriage. Both chapters say children have a fundamental right to be raised by their mother and father.

Jacqui Fetsko of the Lake County group says her organization must push for the ideal. But she says even a single parent raising a child is preferable to a gay couple adopting and raising that child.

“At least a child would get a good gender formation. It’s more natural. … We are a Christian organization and we do believe gay relationships are contrary to God’s plan for man and woman.”

Fetsko and the head of Cleveland Right to Life chapter, Molly Smith,  both say that the issue is key to what politicians their groups will support.

The impact of Portman's switch
Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who been rated high on anti-abortion issues, recently announced his support for same-sex marriage after his son announced he’s gay.

Smith says that’s a deal breaker.

“Because it’s all part and parcel of the same issue -- if he’s going to support same sex marriage, that is against our mission statement.”

Fetsko says it’s also a matter of trust.

“His child comes out that he’s gay, so he going to support gay marriage. If he had a daughter that had an abortion, would he start to support abortion?”

Differing positions within Right to Life
Cleveland Right to Life put out a release announcing Lake County’s change. It claimed, “Many politicians in Ohio are working to influence various affiliates to not make this change in their mission. These politicians are in for a very big surprise.”

But reservations about the changes also have been expressed by Mike Gonidakis, head of Ohio Right to Life. Gonidakis did not return a call for comment, but told The Daily Beast a few weeks ago that Portman retains Right to Life’s support. He also said his group has succeeded in changing public policy because it has remained “laser focused … on our mission to protect the unborn and end abortion.”

Polls show a slight majority of Ohioans now support same sex marriage.

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