Ohio Passes Bill to Bar Same-Sex Unions

February 4, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com)-The Ohio legislature Tuesday approved a bill to ban same-sex unions, as well as bar state agencies from giving benefits to any domestic partners, heterosexual or gay.

The bill, passed overwhelmingly in the state House but by a closer margin in the state Senate, if signed as expected by Governor Bill Taft, will make Ohio the 38th state to bar the recognition of same-sex unions. The legislation also dictates that Ohio cannot recognize any “public act, record or judicial proceeding” from any jurisdiction that extends the benefits of marriage to nonmarital unions, in order to prevent Ohio from acknowledging same-sex unions granted elsewhere, according to the New York Times. The bill goes further than most however, in denying state benefits to domestic partners of the same or opposite sex.

Supporters of the measure maintain that the legislation supports most people’s desire to have marriage defined by the conventional designation of a union between a man and a woman, and that the bill is not in place to discriminate, the Times reported.

Those against the bill have said that it could lead to litigation against corporations in Ohio, such as Procter & Gamble, NCR and Federated Department Stores, that offer domestic partner benefits. However, the New York Times said legislators maintained that the bill does not extend to private corporations, and that there is even wording in the bill allowing for public-employee unions to negotiate domestic-partner benefits through collective bargaining.

Others raising concerns are those who are worried that in a partnership, parental right’s granted in one state regarding a partner’s child would not be valid in Ohio, according to the New York Times. There are also concerns regarding Ohio State University, who has been considering including domestic-partner benefits to employees, but, as a result of the bill, will now be prevented from offering them, which could put them at a disadvantage in recruiting employees from other universities where such benefits are offered.