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Milestone: Ohio becomes 38th with same-sex ‘marriage’ ban

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP)–Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signed into law the state’s first defense of marriage act Feb. 6, making it the 38th state in the nation with an explicit ban on same-sex “marriage.”

Taft’s signature means that three-fourths of the states now have passed defense of marriage acts — a significant milestone in the battle for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

An amendment would require ratification by three-fourths of the states, and social conservatives hope that the broad support for defense of marriage acts will translate into support for a federal amendment.

Before reaching the states, an amendment would first require passage by two-thirds of the House and Senate.

President Bush reportedly has told Washington legislators that he eventually will support a constitutional amendment. All of the Democratic presidential candidates, including frontrunner John Kerry, oppose it.

Taft, a Republican, issued an 800-plus word statement explaining his decision. He said the law is needed in light of the landmark ruling by the Massachusetts high court that same-sex couples there could not be denied marriage licenses.

“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,” the statement read. “Four judges in another state should not, and cannot, hold the power to redefine marriage in Ohio.”

Ohio’s defense of marriage act, which is a statute and not a constitutional amendment, goes further than those of most states. It bans not only the recognition of same-sex “marriage” but also the recognition of Vermont-type civil unions and domestic partnerships. The bill prevents same-sex couples from receiving marriage benefits as defined in state law.

But Ohio isn’t the only state dealing with the issue.

At least 18 other states are considering either strengthening their current laws or passing new ones related to bans on same-sex “marriage.” And at least 14 of those states are considering state constitutional amendments.

Bush reportedly has told Washington legislators he will support the so-called Federal Marriage Amendment, which has been introduced in Congress and has 109 supporters in the House and six in the Senate. The amendment would add language to the Constitution protecting the traditional definition of marriage.

But has yet to embrace the amendment publicly. He appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press with Tim Russert” Feb. 8 but the subject of same-sex “marriage” wasn’t discussed.

The latest CNN/Time poll shows that 62 percent of Americans oppose the legalization of same-sex “marriage.”

Taft asserted that the bill is “not a law of intolerance.”

“The singular purpose of HB 272 is to reaffirm existing Ohio law with respect to our most basic, rooted, and time-honored institution: marriage between a man and a woman,” his statement read. “Marriage is an essential building block of our society, an institution we must reaffirm. At a time when parents and families are under constant attack within our social culture, it is important to confirm and protect those environments that offer our children, and ultimately our society, the best opportunity to thrive.”
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  • Michael Foust