The Freedom to Marry Coalition will hand over 1,700 signatures to Ohio's Santorum-supporting Attorney General Mike DeWine to get the ball rolling on overturning the state's ban on marriage equality via referendum.
If DeWine approves the language in Freedom to Marry's petition—which asks to update the Ohio Constitution to read that marriage is “a union of two consenting adults, regardless of gender"—equality advocates in the state will need to gather 385,253 signatures to secure their measure a spot on the ballot.
Folks supporting marriage equality by referendum in Ohio have their work cut out for them.
According to Equality Ohio:
Marriage equality, however, is an uphill battle. Recent polling puts support for full marriage equality in Ohio at 32%, but it shows strong support among Ohio Republicans for civil unions. Other polls have been more favorable: one respected statistician predicted in 2009 that Ohio would be ripe for marriage equality in 2013. To get there, we will need to do a lot of work to improve these polling numbers.
It is not easy to overturn a Constitutional amendment in Ohio. The current Ohio legislature will not support a Constitutional amendment to allow marriage equality or civil unions. To get on the ballot without support of the legislature, we would need to collect approximately 387,000 petition signatures, including a significant number of signatures in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. We would need to go to Ashland, Morrow, Union, Putnam, and more to collect signatures. The potential cost is enormous: an estimated $2.25 million just to get on the ballot.
But the campaign's co-chairman Tim Hagan remains optimistic. “I feel strongly now that voters, upon reflection, have come to realize everyone is entitled to the same rights."