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March 23. 2012

Stow mayor criticized for signing marriage statement

Stow, Ohio--As one of 11 Ohio mayors signing on to the Mayors for the Freedom to Marry initiative, Stow’s Sara Drew has received some criticism for her support.

According to a March 13 story in the Stow Sentinel, Drew got about 50 responses from a mix of residents and non-residents, and about 60 percent were positive. She signed on after having her support solicited at the winter meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors earlier this year.

In the first wave of mayors from Ohio to sign on, Edward Kelley of Cleveland Heights and David Berger of Lima expressed their support. Freedom to Marry, the national organization that put together the initiative, mistakenly listed Columbus mayor Michael Coleman.

Coleman did sign on later, along with William Healy of Canton, Frank Jackson of Cleveland, Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Gary Norton in East Cleveland, Akron’s Don Plusquellic, Mike Summers of Lakewood and Charles Sammarone in Youngstown.

The 11 Ohio mayors who have signed on represent six of the ten largest cities in Ohio; the ones missing are Toledo, Dayton, Parma and Lorain.

The criticisms leveled at Drew contend that she speaks for the city, against the will of some of its residents.

“I believe very strongly that every member of our community should have the same opportunities,” she said, noting that her signing the statement in support of same-sex marriage was just an example of her advocating for all the citizens of Stow, in suburban Akron. She also pointed out that it is a statement, not legislation, so she has not committed the city to support same-sex marriage.

After the first wave of mayors’ names was released, a lobbying campaign was started to push for Columbus’ Coleman to sign on.

Nationwide, 181 mayors have signed the statement as of this week. The full list is at www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/your-mayor.

Related stories

Eight Ohio mayors have joined marriage group   February 10, 2012

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