A committee will review if the Ohio Statehouse should be same-sex friendly in terms of renting the Civil War-era landmark for weddings and receptions.
The Statehouse now is only rented to couples with an Ohio wedding license under a policy enacted by the Capitol Square and Review Advisory Board, which controls the building and grounds.
Same-sex couples cannot obtain an Ohio wedding license, and thus can’t rent the Statehouse for wedding ceremonies and receptions, since the state does not permit or recognize same-sex marriages.
A committee chaired by House Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, will review the rental policy after State Rep. Stephen Slesnick, D-Canton, made a motion to revisit the matter at yesterday’s Capitol Square board meeting.
Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, chairman of the board, referred the motion to Batchelder’s committee without a vote, a board spokesman said. Batchelder "looks forward" to reviewing the policy and submitting a report to the board, a spokeswoman said.
Ian James, executive director of FreedomOhio, a pro-same-sex marriage group, said the organization first asked the Capitol Square board in January to “revise its wedding policy as it clearly violates equal access to a public accommodation.
“Ohioans deserve equal access to the Statehouse, which is known as the ‘People’s House,’ ” James said in a statement.
The Statehouse has been rented for wedding celebrations since 2006. Twenty-two couples paid the price last year -- $3,500 for a wedding ceremony, $4,500 for a reception or $8,000 for both.
By Randy Ludlow - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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