NOM BLOG

Category Archives: Ohio

Federal Judge Ignores Will of the People in Ohio

Just this week, a survey was released showing 51% of Ohio residents do not want marriage redefined in their state, as opposed to 45% who do. But despite what the people want, a federal judge  is forcing the state of Ohio and local officials to recognize the marriage of two men. And the worst part is, this isn't the first time.

USA Today:

JudgeThe order issued Tuesday involves a man from the Cincinnati suburb of Wyoming, Ohio [William Ives], who died last month.

[U.S. District Judge Timothy] Black ruled that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and other state officials cannot enforce Ohio's voter-approved constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. He also ruled that Cincinnati officials cannot accept a death certificate for Ives unless it records his status as married and lists [David] Michener as his surviving spouse.

The state can’t enforce a legally enacted constitutional amendment? In effect, this federal judge has thrown out DOMA section #2.

51% of Ohioans Support True Definition of Marriage

A new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that the majority of Ohio residents -- 51% -- do not support a measure to redefine marriage, as opposed to just 45% who would. While the Public Religion Research Institute describes itself as nonpartisan, the poll was funded by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, which actually promotes same-sex marriage advocacy.

Cleveland.com:

OhioOhioans are split on the idea of gay marriage and, if the election were today, would not vote to overturn the state's ban on it, a new poll shows.

...when asked about a possible state constitutional amendment to repeal the one that banned gay marriage nearly a decade ago, 51 percent said they would not support the measure, compared with 45 percent who would. The findings seem to validate fears some gay rights groups in Ohio have about moving ahead with their ballot push in 2014.

When given the option to support civil unions, 41 percent favor gay marriage, 30 percent no recognition at all and 23 percent civil unions. But 68 percent – including 61 percent of Republicans – said they favor laws that protect gays from job discrimination.

Court Upholds Firing of College Official Over Op-Ed Against Gay Rights

The Chronicle of Higher Education:

A federal appeals court has upheld the University of Toledo's decision to fire a high-level human-resources administrator who wrote a newspaper opinion column challenging the idea that gay people deserve the same civil-rights protections as members of racial minority groups.

In a ruling handed down on Monday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the administrator's column "contradicted the very policies she was charged with creating, promoting, and enforcing," and cannot be excused as merely a statement of her own views as a private citizen. The panel affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss the administrator's lawsuit accusing the public university of violating her constitutional rights by firing her.

At the center of the case was an opinion essay that Crystal Dixon, who had been the university's interim associate vice president for human resources, published in the Toledo Free Press in April 2008.

... In upholding the dismissal of Ms. Dixon's lawsuit, the federal appeals court said she differed from other employees cited in her equal-protection claim in that her speech, and not theirs, contradicted university policies. The appeals panel said her essay "spoke on policy issues related directly to her position at the university," and the government's interests as an employer outweighed her free-speech interests in the dispute.

National Organization for Marriage Launches Massive Phone Campaign for Marriage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2012
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Jen Campbell (703-683-5004)


"Along with advertising and other mobilization efforts we have undertaken, which are unprecedented in their scale, we are confident that Election Day 2012 will mark a triumph for marriage and family in the United States." —Brian Brown, NOM president—

National Organization for Marriage

Washington, D.C.—The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was founded to advance pro-marriage initiatives across the country through advocacy and grassroots mobilization. Today NOM issued the following statement on campaign 2012:

In the final days before voters go to the ballot box, the National Organization for Marriage and its partners are launching a major push to reach and mobilize 10 million voters with a positive message for marriage. The new campaign, with a budget of $500,000, involves robocalls to households in Maine, Maryland, Washington State, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The calls feature prominent advocates for traditional marriage and family, including Dr. James Dobson, Senator Marco Rubio and former Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Calls will be placed in both English and Spanish, targeting voters across the political spectrum who favor retaining the definition of marriage, which has characterized society for centuries.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, described the telephone campaign as "the largest national mobilization of traditional marriage voters in history. Our aim is to reach 10 million voters or more. We are proud to work with state-and national-based partners in the four states that have marriage referenda on the ballot—states where we believe the polls are trending in our favor—and in three presidential swing states, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, that many pundits are surprised to find now in play.

"Even in these tough economic times," Brown said, "people know that the stability of the family is crucial and the need to preserve the institution of marriage has never been greater. These calls from leaders in public life will remind voters to go to the polls, to protect marriage, and to support public officials who will do the same. Along with advertising and other mobilization efforts we have undertaken, which are unprecedented in their scale, we are confident that Election Day 2012 will mark a triumph for marriage and family in the United States."

###

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Jen Campbell (x145), jcampbell@crcpublicrelations.com , or Elizabeth Ray (x130), eray@crcpublicrelations.com , at 703-683-5004.

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

Catholic University Under Investigation for Following Church Teaching About Sexuality

LifeSiteNews:

The national agency which grants accreditation to social work courses is questioning Franciscan University of Steubenville over a course which lists homosexuality as a deviant behavior.  Attention was drawn to the course by a group of Franciscan University alumni, identifying themselves as “Franciscan Gay Alumni & Allies”, who are demanding publicly that the university “revise its course descriptions and to stop contributing the culture of hate and ignorance.”

... In a written statement to LifeSiteNews, the university explains that the course uses the term “deviant” as used in the sociological sense, to mean “different from the norm.” In addition, the university stated, “Franciscan University follows Catholic Church teaching in regard to homosexuality and treats homosexual persons with ‘respect, compassion, and sensitivity’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2358) while holding homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered.’ “

The statement goes on to say that the course description is an abbreviation of chapter headings from the course textbook, which is used by a number of other universities, including both secular and religious institutions.

Stephen Holloway, director of the school’s accrediting agency, Council on Social Work Education, in an interview with NPR (National Public Radio), stated the inclusion of homosexuality as a deviant behavior in the description “raises a red flag”.

Debunking the "1,400 Rights and Benefits" Canard

One of the ongoing reporting memes that amuses me in covering marriage-related news is the ever-changing number of "rights and benefits" that married couples supposedly enjoy.

Take, for instance, this paragraph in the Middletown Journal (Ohio):

"Roger Conner, owner of Flowers by Roger in Middletown for the last 37 years, said gay men and women, if they want, should “have the opportunity” to get married. Married couples have more than 1,400 rights and benefits that same-gender couples are denied, according to a federal tally. Conner mentioned three: next-of-kin status for hospital visits and medical decisions and tax returns."

1,400? I've seen numbers as high as 1,700 and as low as 1,100. So maybe Mr. Conner thought it would be safest to pick a number halfway between the two.

Problem is, all of these numbers are suspect, as Politifact Rhode Island found out when they looked into this claim:

"Given the number of times the 1,100 number has been tossed around, we expected to see a specific analysis of each law cited, or at least some indication of what "right" was at stake.

Instead, we were surprised to discover that the GAO had simply done a search of the U.S. Code to identify laws that use words or word fragments like "marr" (for marriage), "spouse," "widow" or "survivor.""

In other words, the only way a number as large as 1,100 (let alone 1,700) would be to use it in the phrase "marriage and related words are mentioned this many times."

But of course, that's not a very effective figure to point out so instead we are treated to literally hundreds of news reports claiming that marriage confers over a thousand "rights and benefits" (sometimes you see the adjective "responsibilities") without anyone really stopping to fact-check the claim.

Moreover, long before Politifact took a look at this question recently, the institute for Marriage and Public Policy investigated these types of claims back in 2004 and found them wanting. Obviously, most individuals pushing gay marriage didn't get the memo.

Finally, in states that do allow full civil unions with all the rights/benefits/responsibilities, etc. of marriage, that is still unacceptable to activists bent on redefining marriage.

So maybe it's time to drop the 1,000+ rights and benefits canard and get back to debating marriage.

Vulnerable Democratic Senators Balk at Obama's Gay Marriage Endorsement

As we wrote last week, Obama's support of SSM puts almost every Democrat running in a conservative state in a tough position, according to The Hill:

Senate Democrats facing difficult reelections are breaking with President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, a sign the issue is politically dangerous in battleground states.

Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), the two most vulnerable Democratic senators, have declined to endorse Obama’s call for the legalization of gay marriage.

Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bob Casey (Pa.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.), Democrats who have easier races but in states that could become more competitive by November, have also backed away from Obama’s stance.

They all represent states with constitutional amendments or laws banning same-sex marriage.

... The exception is Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) who faces a stiff challenge in Ohio, where outside groups have spent more than $5 million on ads to defeat him.

Brown issued a strong statement siding with Obama, even though his home state has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

"Anti-Christian Bigotry Okay to Preserve Diversity"?

The American Freedom Law Center is working on this case in conjunction with the Thomas More Law Center:

Arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that “no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion,” a legal team has appealed the dismissal of an administrator from the University of Toledo in Ohio for her opinion of homosexuality.

The appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes on behalf of Crystal Dixon, who was fired by the university in 2008 after expressing her “personal, Christian viewpoint on homosexuality” in an op-ed published in a local newspaper.

“In direct contravention,” the appeal states, “defendants seek to prescribe what ‘shall be orthodox’ in matters of opinion by permitting University of Toledo employees to express personal messages that promote certain favored viewpoints on controversial political and social issues, while censoring certain disfavored viewpoints, such as plaintiff’s Christian viewpoint on the issue of homosexuality.” -- Vision to America

AP: Gay Marriage Groups Split on Ohio Ballot Initiative

The Associated Press:

A 30,000-member gay rights group won't support a current ballot initiative aimed at overturning Ohio's ban on same-sex marriages.

Equality Ohio's executive director Ed Mullen tell The Columbus Dispatch he's concerned there may be problems with the language proposed by backers of the constitutional amendment and that more analysis is needed.

Ian James of the Ohio Freedom to Marry coalition that's proposed the amendment says the initiative will continue. He say the drive to overturn the ban needs to begin now.

The ballot issue would ask voters to repeal a 2004 amendment that says Ohio recognizes only a marriage between a man and a woman. Supporters must collect about 385,000 valid voter signatures for the issue to appear on the ballot.

Ohio Attorney General Certifies Same-Sex Marriage Petition

NewsMax:

Language to repeal Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban has been certified by Attorney General Mike DeWine, who said it now includes a proper summary of the proposed constitutional amendment.

... The amendment, if passed, would modify the state constitution, changing its definition of marriage to be “a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender.” In 2004, voters statewide approved an amendment declaring marriage to be between one man and one woman.

... The Ohio Ballot Board, according to the Dispatch, must now decide whether the repeal measure should be placed on the ballot as one amendment, or be split up.

Once that decision is made, the coalition will still have to gather 385,253 valid voter signatures on another petition to put the amendment on the ballot in 2013.

Politicized Banks Who Entered Marriage Fight Dropped by Ohio for "Systematically Exploiting Pension Funds”

Support same-sex marriage, or focus on keeping clients worth $41 billion happy?

In November of 2011 two banks, while under investigation by the Ohio Attorney General for defrauding four Ohio pension systems, decided to sign on in support of eliminating the federal Defense of Marriage Act (which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman).

Can massive financial institutions multitask? Sure, but when they have an unhappy client worth $41 billion why are they getting involved in a culture war over marriage?

The cost for Bank of New York Mellon is a $16 million lawsuit by the State of Ohio over their alleged manipulation of exchange rates.  For State Street Bank the cost is defending against multiple state lawsuits and the federal government.

Perhaps, like Goldman Sachs, they could use a little more focus on their corporate culture and do a little less worrying about marriage.

-- Jonathan Baker is the Director of NOM's Corporate Fairness Project

What Marriage Means for Working-Class Adults Searching for Marital Love

David and Amber Lapp, researchers at the Institute for American Values, are the co-investigators of the Love and Marriage in Middle America project, a qualitative inquiry into how working class young adults in one small Ohio town form families. They summarize their findings in the Public Discourse:

... How do working class young adults think about marriage today? Do they still revere it even while they choose to delay it, or are they jettisoning marriage altogether? If they do revere it, why the increase in cohabiting unions with children?

These are among the questions we have been exploring in more than one hundred interviews with mostly white working class young adults in southwestern Ohio. Our findings are both sobering and hopeful to friends of marriage.

Hopeful, because in spite of the “new normal,” most of the young adults who spoke to us do aspire to marriage, or at least to what marriage stands for in their minds—mainly love, fidelity, permanence, and happiness. This is consistent with national statistics that find that 76 percent of high-school educated young adults say that marriage is “very important” or “one of the most important things” to them.

But sobering, because even as working class young adults dream of love, commitment, permanence, and family, they inherit a cultural story about love and marriage that frustrates those longings. And while there are other factors—both economic and social—this inadequate philosophy of love and marriage helps to account for the “new normal.”

Freedom to Marry Files for SSM Referendum in Ohio

With this move, perhaps gay marriage activists will finally drop their complaint that putting marriage to a vote of the people is wrong? This makes the second state they are doing so, after all (Maine was the first):

A proposed constitutional amendment to undo Ohio’s 2004 same-sex marriage ban will be submitted today to Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The Freedom to Marry Coalition expects to file more than 1,700 signatures of registered Ohio voters; 1,000 valid signatures are required in the first step of placing a constitutional issue before Ohio voters this fall or possibly next year.

The proposal would change the Ohio Constitution — amended in 2004 to block same-sex marriage — to say that the state and political jurisdictions define marriage as “a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender.”

... Phil Burress, of the Cincinnati-based group Citizens for Community Values, said that if same-sex marriage supporters put the issue on the ballot this fall “they can kiss (President Barack) Obama goodbye.” Burress’ group was instrumental in passing the 2004 amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman, an issue credited by some with helping President George W. Bush to win a second term.

“I guess they’re feeling their oats because seven states have same-sex marriage,” Burress said. “ They’re going to have their hands full. We’re prepared to meet them on the field of battle.” -- The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Biological Mother in Same-Sex Parenting Dispute

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

In a 4-3 decision yesterday, the [Ohio Supreme Court] justices upheld lower-court rulings that a Cincinnati woman did not agree to shared legal custody of her daughter, now 5, despite planning the in-vitro pregnancy with her partner and naming her a "co-parent" in power-of-attorney documents.

Biological mom Kelly Mullen voided those documents after she and Lucy, then 2, moved out of the house they shared with Michele Hobbs in 2007. Hobbs' name appears on the ceremonial birth certificate, and she helped raise and financially support Lucy.

The legal dispute is one of several in Ohio and nationally to test the parental rights of people who are not biologically related to a child but have assumed parental responsibilities.

... Columbus lawyer Doug Dougherty, who represented Mullen in the Supreme Court, applauded the court for affirming biological parents' constitutional right to raise their children.

Boehner should defend same-sex marriage ban, says Santorum

From The Hill newspaper:

One possible Republican presidential candidate is putting pressure on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to defend in court the federal law that     bans the recognition of gay marriage.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), a social conservative who's a dark-horse presidential candidate, said the Speaker needs to step forward after President Obama's decision to direct the Justice Department to drop its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) from judicial challenges. [Continue reading.]

Source: The Hill Newspaper (www.thehill.com)