There will be no same-sex marriages or receptions at the Statehouse – unless the Ohio Constitution changes.
The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board affirmed its existing policy forbidding such events at a meeting yesterday. The board oversees the Statehouse and grounds.
Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, a member of the board, said during a discussion that the state must abide by the Ohio Constitution, which under a 2004 amendment approved by Ohio voters limits marriage to one man and one woman. Until or if that changes, Batchelder said, same-sex marriages should not be allowed at the Statehouse and grounds.
The board approved a recommendation from an internal committee to stick with the same-sex ban, spokesman Luke Stedke said.
Stedke said about two dozens weddings or receptions were held at the Statehouse in the past year. There have been no permit applications from same-sex couples, he said.
State Rep. Michael Stinziano, D-Columbus, asked for the board to review the policy.
FreedomOhio and other gay rights groups complain that the wedding policy is discriminatory toward same-sex couples.
Ohio’s constitutional ban may be tested at an Aug. 6 hearing in 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Five different cases, including two from Ohio, will be heard by the court that day.
By Alan Johnson - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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