Marriage Equality Group Submits New Petitions

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The Freedom to Marry — Ohio movement, which aims to put marriage equality on the Ohio ballot and overturn 2004's Defense of Marriage Amendment, keeps gaining momentum.

A Saturday rally by the Free Stamp in downtown Cleveland attracted several thousand people despite bad weather, and was followed by a mock marriage event of at the Galleria of both straight and gay couples, which organizers dubbed "the largest illegal mass marriage" ever staged. (That's to separate it from those Moonie weddings of thousands of couple held in stadiums — those are legal).

Then on Monday, Freedom to Marry — led by former Columbus area Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy — dropped off its second batch of preliminary petitions for to Attorney General Mike DeWine's office. (To get an issue on the ballot, a group must first submit 1,000 valid signatures to get approval to start circulating the actual petitions. DeWine turned down the group's first batch on technicalities in the language which the group corrected).

Ian James, the Columbus-area activist who kickstarted the Ohio marriage equality campaign, said before the group headed down to DeWine's office,

FreedomOhio is preparing to file its Summary Petition containing 2,387 signatures from 60 counties with the Ohio Attorney General. Upon approval of the summary, the Ohio Ballot Board will meet to review the petition language. We anticipate having a certified petition no later than April 24th for circulation. Get ready Ohio, Freedom to Marry is just ahead.

As of Friday, the group had pre-validated 1,300 signatures from 46 counties. Volunteers continued to validate signatures and collect more over the weekend — even though they were assured of having enough — in order to make a statement. — Anastasia Pantsios

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