23 Feb 2012

Petitioning to Get Same-Sex Marriage Legalized in Ohio

Author: chevona | Filed under: BGSU, Localizing story, Spring 2012, Student Contributor

By ChevonAnderson

Everyday Matt wakes up and spends a countless amount of time doing his hair; making sure that his clothes look good; and making sure that his shoes match his outfit. Matt admits that he spends more time getting ready in morning than straight men and even some women.

Matthew Wickline

Matthew Wickline, sophomore accounting major at Bowling Green State University, identifies as a gay man. Wickline is openly gay to all of his family and friends and is currently in a serious relationship with his boyfriend.

 “I get on Facebook and see that my friends are getting engaged and while I’m happy for them, at the same time it sucks for me because I can’t go through that,” said Wickline. “It’s kind of depressing.”

In 2004 the Ohio Constitution adopted Article 15 Section 11, the Marriage Amendment, which says: “Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.”

The organization Equality Ohio is petitioning to get the “The Marriage Equality Amendment” and has also been called “The Freedom to Marriage and Religious Freedom Amendment” placed on November’s ballot.

Equality Ohio is an organization that advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The proposed amendment would repeal and replace Article 15 Section 11 of the Ohio Constitution. The amendment would allow two consenting adults to enter into marriage regardless of gender; give religious institutions the freedom to determine who they wish to marry; give religious institutions constitutional protection to refuse to perform a marriage along with other repeals.

The Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Wood County Nathan Eberly supports the petition. Eberly said that the petition is trying to push for more personal liberties for people and said, “It is important it keep the government out of our day to day life.”

Recently, California federal courts declared that the ban on same-sex marriages was a violation of gay and lesbian civil rights.

John Killings, a graduate coordinator for diversity programs said, “It’s good that they overturned it, but why shouldn’t we have same-sex marriage? We are stopping people because of religion?”

Killings said that more action needs to take place and change will only come by writing to Ohio legislature, petitioning, peaceful rallying, and making legislature overall more aware of what same-sex couples deserve.

“Just because someone is gay they’re not different; they deserve the same rights as everyone,” said Killings.

Recently the state of Washington passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages. Washington is the eighth state to pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.

Tobias Spears, assistant director for LGBT programs, thinks it is a step in the right direction but feels that states should not have the power to allow any “being” to get married.

Laura Sanchez, sociology professor and researcher of gender division, speaks on same-sex marriage in her co-authoring journal entry “Attitudes Toward Gay Marriage in States Undergoing Marriage Law Transformation”.

“The majority of Americans view homosexuality as morally wrong, but a growing majority are unwilling to restrict the civil liberties of gay and lesbian people,” Sanchez said in her journal.

Bowling Green passed two ordnances, 7905 and 7906, allowing discrimination against nine different social classes including same-sex couples in 2010. This discrimination included refusing people of living arrangement, restaurants, etc if they fell within these nine social classes.

“If I had I had a choice I wouldn’t want to be gay,” said Wickline. “Why would I willingly choose to love a person that society tells me I have no right to love or be with because we are men”?

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