Thursday, December 11, 2003

Ohio House comes out against gay marriage

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Gay marriage would not be recognized in Ohio and state employees could not obtain health insurance and other benefits for their unmarried partners under a bill the Ohio House passed Wednesday night.

The Republican-controlled House voted 69-23 along largely partisan lines to declare that same-sex marriage is against "the strong public policy of the state."

Republicans said the bill was necessary to prevent gay couples legally married elsewhere from having those marriages recognized in Ohio.

Without the bill, same-sex marriages "will be imported into Ohio because we failed to declare what our strong public policy is," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican.

Democrats called the bill offensive.

Senate President Doug White of Manchester said the issue should be debated in the Senate. Gov. Bob Taft said he would sign the bill. Both are Republicans.

The legislation changes Ohio's existing marriage statute to add: "A marriage may only be entered into by one man and one woman" and declare that extending benefits for unmarried partners to state employees, whether of the same or opposite sex, is against state policy.

It also says Ohio would not recognize same-sex marriages entered in other states.

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