It’s very doubtful there will be an issue on the ballot this fall to allow Ohioans to vote to overturn the state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports the leader of that effort says there’s not enough time to get the necessary signatures to put the issue before voters this November.
FreedomOhio’s Ian James says he will not put an issue on the ballot this fall to allow Ohioans to overturn the gay marriage ban approved by voters in 2004.
It’s good news to the state’s largest gay rights advocacy group, Equality Ohio. For the last year, Equality Ohio has been urging James to wait, saying this fall is not the time to put the issue before voters.
But it’s not just the timing. There are questions about whether the former petition that was circulated was worded properly to allow religious freedom. James changed the petition language, and the ballot board just approved it. But James says it won’t make the ballot this year.
“It would be very difficult to get the signatures necessary for this new petition that allows for the freedom to marry and religious freedom, because the time frame is so tight," James said. "Plus we want to really reach out and build consensus with the in-state LGBT groups and allies to make sure this is the right time, the right issue and we're moving things forward. You know, this is going to cost a lot of money to get on the ballot and win. So we're going to take a step back and make sure we are doing this the right way at the right time.”
In order to put the issue before voters this fall, James would have needed to collect more than 385 thousand signatures from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties on these new petitions by July 2.
James says he’s now hoping to try to put the issue before voters next year -- or in the fall of 2016.