Ohio’s Attorney General on Friday petitioned the state Supreme Court to throw out a suit against his office over his approving a referendum measure that would overturn the state’s enshrined gay marriage ban.
The Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage sued last month, challenging DeWine’s approval of the wording on a ballot amendment proposed by Freedom to Marry Ohio.
In a response filed Friday, DeWine defended his action and argued that the court has no jurisdiction over what he called a pre-certification process — which the law says is exclusively the domain of the attorney general. DeWine said he certified a “fair and truthful statement of a proposed constitutional amendment.” He also noted that his opinion on the merits of the issue is irrelevant.
The Campaign to Protect Marriage, affiliated with the Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values, wants the court to invalidate DeWine’s certification of the proposal “because it is not a summary and is not a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment.”
Freedom to Marry Ohio is seeking to overturn the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and enshrine language that would allow two consenting adults to marry who, regardless of gender, meet all other legal requirements.
DeWine, who has repeatedly said that he is not a supporter of marriage equality, threw out Freedom Ohio’s first language submission on technical grounds.
The matter eventually went before a judge and a neutral framework was hammered out.
The Attorney General then certified the petition language last month and confirmed therein that the language was a fair and truthful representation of the proposed initiative. With that he allowed advocates to proceed to the signature gathering stage. Equality groups will have to gather roughly 385,000 signatures to put the measure before voters in November 2013.
However, opponents of marriage equality decried DeWine’s approval of the petition question, claiming that DeWine had allowed Freedom to Marry Ohio to use language that did not spell out that repealing the constitutional amendment banning marriage equality would be a “redefinition” of marriage.
As indicated above, they sued the AG’s office to try and press this point.
LGBT rights groups hope that Ohio voters, in a first for any state in the US, might overturn the state’s 2004 voter-enacted constitutional amendment banning marriage equality.