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June 1. 2012

Top court dismisses suit against marriage initiative

Columbus--A lawsuit against an initiative to amend the Ohio Constitution to allow same-sex marriage has been dismissed by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The high court on May 25 ended the suit against Attorney General Mike DeWine, who approved the wording for the proposed ballot measure.

DeWine certified the petitions on April 3, which allowed the measure’s backers to begin gathering signatures to put it on the ballot. Around 385,000 signatures are needed.

The suit was filed on April 10 by the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, the group behind the 2004 marriage ban currently in the Ohio constitution, and Lori Viars, an evangelical activist.

They were represented by attorneys David Langdon and Joshua Bolinger of Langdon’s firm, and James Campbell of the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona group that often opposes pro-gay measures. Langdon also represents Citizens for Community Values of suburban Cincinnati that also backed the 2004 ban amendment.

Langdon and Campbell alleged that the proposed petition was not an accurate reflection of the amendment and did not summarize it properly.

DeWine filed for a summary dismissal of the case, saying that the wording on the proposal was proper. The court moved 5-2 in favor of dismissal.

The proposed petition text was a second draft; the first draft was rejected by DeWine, which Freedom to Marry Ohio leader Ian James expected might happen. He noted before the wording was turned in the first time that such proposals are often rejected, rewritten and resubmitted.

“We’re three for three with the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Ballot Board all approving our petition language to give two loving adults the freedom to marry in Ohio,” said Mary Jo Kilroy, chief executive officer of Freedom Ohio, the group behind the amendment effort. “We are moving full steam ahead in our effort to bring the freedom to marry and religious freedom amendment to voters in November 2013.”

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