Buckeye State Enacts Gay Marriage Ban

February 9, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - With a stroke of the pen by Ohio Governor Bob Taft on Friday, the state put into place a sweeping gay marriage ban that also blocks health insurance and other benefits to the unwed partners of state workers, whether gay or not.

Taft said Ohio had to act because the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in recent opinions “redefined marriage” and cleared the way for nuptials between same-sex couples (See Massachusetts Court Says Gays Entitled to Marry ), according to a Reuters news report.

Two Canadian provinces have also approved them, and Vermont and smaller localities permit civil unions. “As a result, Ohio could have same-sex couples who were ‘married’ in Massachusetts taking legal action in Ohio to recognize that marriage and to obtain the resulting benefits,” Taft said.

“First and foremost, this is not a law of intolerance,” Taft said. “I do not endorse, nor does this law provide for, discrimination against any Ohio citizen.” The Republican-led Ohio Legislature gave final approval to the measure earlier in the week (See Ohio Passes Bill to Bar Same-Sex Unions ).

With the law’s enactment, Ohio reaffirmed a stance already adopted in more than three dozen other US states that do not recognize the legality of same-sex unions, sure to be a hot-button political issue in this presidential election campaign.