The Ohio house of representatives delayed a vote on a bill that would ban gay marriages at the request of Gov. Bob Taft, who didn't want the issue to overshadow his State of the State speech on Wednesday. But that doesn't mean the measure is dead. House speaker Larry Householder rescheduled the vote for February 3 and said he expects the bill to be approved and sent to the governor. Taft, a Republican, plans to sign the bill, said spokesman Orest Holubec.
The bill would put into law that same-sex marriages would be "against the strong public policy of the state." The bill also prohibits state employees from getting marital benefits spelled out in state law for their unmarried partners, whether homosexual or heterosexual.
Because of the benefits provision, the bill is considered one of the most far-reaching marriage bans in the country. Although the measure does not apply to private companies, some businesses have said they're worried that opponents of same-sex marriage could use the ban to challenge domestic-partner benefits offered by businesses. Holubec said the governor supports the bill in part because it ensures that private companies can continue to offer domestic-partner benefits.