Republican politician Jim Petro of Ohio has come out in support of marriage equality. At a press conference in Columbus, Petro said he was influenced to change his position because of his openly lesbian daughter.
“Last year, my daughter Corbin married Jessica Gelman in Massachusetts, where same-gender marriages are legal,” Petro said in a press release. “They are expecting a child soon, and deserve the same protections guaranteed to other families. Seeing their happiness, and realizing all the rights they would be denied here in Ohio has proven to me the importance of equal marriage in our state.”
Petro hopes to repeal Ohio’s voter-approved marriage equality ban, passed in 2004.
“I'm thoroughly convinced that bringing marriage equality to Ohio is the right thing to do. This amendment is rooted in a central conservative value, namely freedom – the freedom to love, the freedom of religion, and the freedom from big government. I am proud to endorse this amendment,” Petro added.
Following Senator Rob Portman, Petro is the second high-status Republican from Ohio to approve of marriage equality. Portman’s son came out as gay, which also influenced the Senator’s decision.
With Petro backing marriage equality, FreedomOhio is petitioning for signatures in their battle for equality in the 2014 general election. To get on the ballot, 385,245 signatures are needed.
FreedomOhio will face opposition from Citizens for Community Values president Phil Burress, who cautions politicians against supporting marriage equality in Ohio.
“Any candidate on the wrong side of the issue will not get elected,” Burress said in an interview with Times Reporter over the weekend.
“Ask the question, how do you prohibit polygamy? Or anything? You've gotta give them anything they want. When you start using words like 'equal protection,' or when you can say there's discrimination, what are you going to do for bisexuals? They have to have a man and a woman to make them happy.”