Controversy Over Holocaust Memorial, And Gay Rights Activists Debate Same-Sex Marriage Ballot Issue

A planned Holocaust memorial has been approved by the agency that manages the Statehouse grounds, but the debate over that structure has led to the resignation of the former lawmaker who’s known for his commitment to Capitol Square. And now it’s a safe bet that former Attorney General Richard Cordray will not be running for the Democratic nomination for governor next year, since he was confirmed as head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week.

Next year’s ballot will be a huge one, with all five of the state executive offices, the entire Ohio House, a third of the Ohio Senate, and the entire Ohio US Congressional delegation on it. And with big candidate races often come big ballot issues. One that’s been talked about for next year is an amendment that would allow Ohio to join 13 states in recognizing and allowing legal marriage for same-sex couples. It’s potentially a stunning turnaround, considering Ohio voters approved an amendment that defined marriage as only between one man and one woman. And that was on top of a state law that was signed that same year that did the same thing. The group FreedomOhio is marching toward next year’s ballot, and grabbing headlines with the support they’re getting from Democratic mayors and elected officials, from faith and community leaders, and most recently from Jim Petro, the former auditor, attorney general, Republican candidate for governor and higher ed chancellor under Gov. John Kasich. But state and national activists for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered rights say they’re very concerned about whether the time is right to ask Ohio voters this question now, with just a decade between the last vote on the issue and this one and with so much attention – and likely so much money – being put into next year’s campaigns in general. The leaders of these two groups sat down for the first time together to talk about the potential ballot issue - Ian James, the longtime political strategist who leads FreedomOhio and Elyzabeth Holford, the executive director of Equality Ohio, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization.

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