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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
October 13, 2006

GOP ad hits Strickland for his vote against a ban amendment

Washington, D.C.--The federal marriage ban amendment brought up in the House and Senate last summer was seen by many as a GOP attempt to give their candidates something to hit Democrats with at election time.

Although the measure failed--as it did two years ago--the prediction has come true. The amendment�s ghost has appeared on Ohio TV screens in a commercial attacking Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland for his votes against it.

�Aren�t you disappointed when a politician says one thing and does another?� the ad begins, as still images float over a red background.

�[Strickland] claims marriage is between a man and a woman, but voted against making traditional marriage the law of the land,� the narrator intones.

The spot claims a contradiction between Strickland�s long-stated views that marriage should be between one man and one woman but that same-sex couples should have rights and benefits similar to married couples, and that federal and state constitutions should not be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

The ad is also designed to put the same-sex marriage issue in front of Ohio voters again, even though the matter was settled here two years ago when voters passed a state anti-marriage amendment.

The Republican Governors Association of Washington, D.C., has spent roughly $500,000 running the spot on broadcast TV in Cleveland, Toledo and Dayton, and on cable in Columbus. It ran September 29 to October 7.

The association says its mission is electing Republican governors and promoting the �philosophy of the Republican Party at the state and local levels nationwide.� It is chaired by anti-gay Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with anti-gay Georgia governor Sonny Perdue as vice chair.

The group is not considered a political action committee in Ohio, so it can�t be officially connected to the Republican candidate and is also not required to report its expenditures as campaign contributions.

In order to do that, it must appear to be advocating for an issue. In this case, according to the association, the issue is �trust.�

�The ad is about trust,� said their general counsel Charlie Spies. �It tells the audience the difference between what [Strickland] says and what he does. [Gay marriage] is one area where he cannot be trusted.�

Spies said there is �a long list� of areas where it appears Strickland cannot be trusted, including taxes.

Asked why gay marriage was the one issue selected over the others, Spies said, �We don�t answer about our strategy.�

The association is running ads in five other states. Ohio�s is the only one dealing with marriage.

The ad refers to Strickland�s vote against the federal marriage amendment in 2004. He also opposed the amendment when it came up this year.

The measure would have amended the U.S. Constitution to ban all same-sex marriages and state-recognized civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Strickland also opposed the Ohio marriage ban amendment in 2004.

Midway through the 30-second ad, the narrator says, �Strickland even said that same-sex marriages were an evolving situation and that it is only a matter of time before gay marriage is widely recognized.�

This was taken from a July, 2004 Copley News report. The entire text reads:

�Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lisbon, opposes the amendment and supports at least some form of gay union.�

� �This is an evolving situation,� said Strickland, who believes it is only a matter of time before gay marriage is widely recognized.�

� �I absolutely believe that adults should be able to enter into legal relationships which give them the legal rights and privileges that are usually associated with the marriage relationship,� he said.�

Strickland campaign spokesperson Keith Dailey criticized the ad for what he called taking �commentary on the issue� out of context.

�It�s no surprise,� said Dailey. �Its not the first time the same-sex marriage ban has been used divisively in Ohio to hold on to political power.�



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