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Courts and Crime

Federal Court considers Ohio's same-sex marriage ban
Advocates on both sides begin rallying in Cincinnati ahead of Wednesday's hearing

Jo Ingles
One of the cases tried will be on whether Jim Obergefell should have been listed as a partner of his partner John Arthur's death certificate.
Courtesy of Video capture, Cincinnati Inquirer
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Many eyes will be on a federal court in Cincinnati tomorrow as it hears two challenges to gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. Advocates for and opponents of gay marriage are preparing for this important day in court.


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Cincinnati is ground zero for the legal challenges over gay marriage before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That is why supporters and opponents of same sex marriage are protesting, praying or doing both. Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, an advocate for marriage equality, is joining in a rally before the court hearings and praying for the court to legalize gay marriage. 

“I think it’s the fair and right thing to do," Strickland says. "I think it strengthens our society. I think it strengthens families.”

And Strickland says it helps Ohio’s economy because many businesses want to do business in gay-friendly states.  Strickland, a Methodist minister, has not always been a strong supporter of gay marriage but he says he has evolved.

“I feel differently about this issue than I would have 20 years ago or even 10 years ago," Strickland says. "But I think one of the reasons the country’s attitudes are changing Is that young people are leading us. Polling shows that by huge majorities, young people of both political parties, whether Democrat or Republican, whether they consider themselves conservative or liberal, young people in this country have decided that this kind of discrimination is inappropriate and they are teaching us a better way.”

But Phil Burress says there is not as much support for gay marriage as Strickland claims. Burress is the leader of Citizens for Community Values, a group that has pushed for the ban on same sex marriage in Ohio. He says opponents of gay marriage are taking a less public approach by quietly praying about the issue.

“Prayer is private," Burress says. "We are not going to have a prayer rally. This is not a time for rallies and stomping your feet and yelling. This is very serious.”

Burress says rallies and demonstrations will not sway the federal court considering these cases.

“These justices are very tenured experience justices who are going to be looking at the law, not public opinion," Burress says. "Public opinion matters at the ballot box where we are ahead 31 to 3. There’s only 3 states that have voted for same sex marriage. 31 states have said marriage is one man and one woman. So the idea that somehow public opinion has swayed on this, the only time we hear that is from the homosexual activists and the media.”

No matter what this federal court does, both sides in this fight believe the U.S. Supreme Court will be the ultimate battleground for the issue.

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