Antigay amendment may head to voters in Ohio
Supporters of an Ohio constitutional amendment to ban civil unions or a similar legal status to unmarried couples have enough signatures to get the proposal on the November ballot, the group's president said Monday. Citizens for Community Values will submit the petitions to Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell by Wednesday's deadline, said Phil Burress, president of the Cincinnati-based group. The group was waiting for overnight delivery of more completed petition forms but is confident the total is more than the required 323,000 to qualify for the November 2 election. The proposal, commonly referred to as a gay marriage ban, applies to all unmarried couples and would prohibit any legal status "that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effect of marriage."
Amendment opponents will review the petitions carefully to ensure that the rules were followed, said Alan Melamed, campaign manager for Ohioans Protecting the Constitution, a political action committee formed last month. The group is planning its campaign, including radio and television ads, if enough signatures of registered Ohio voters are verified. "If they follow the rules, they're perfectly entitled to be on the ballot," Melamed said.